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THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations. 

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Plates and 54 other Illustrations. 

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Crimson Fairy Book 








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Each Fairy Book demands a preface from the Editor, 
and these introductions are inevitably both monotonous 
and unavailing. A sense of literary honesty compels the 
Editor to keep repeating that he is the Editor, and not 
the author of the Fairy Tales, just as a distinguished 
man of science is only the Editor, not the Author of 
Nature. Like nature, popular tales are too vast to be 
the creation of a single modern mind. The Editor's 
business is to hunt for collections of these stories told 
by peasant or savage grandmothers in many climes, from 
New Caledonia to Zululand ; from the frozen snows 
of the Polar regions to Greece, or Spain, or Italy, or far 
Lochaber. When the tales are found they are adapted 
to the needs of British children by various hands, the 
Editor doing little beyond guarding the interests of 
propriety, and toning down to mild reproofs the tortures 
inflicted on wicked stepmothers, and other naughty 

These explanations have frequently been offered 
already ; but, as far as ladies and children are concerned, 
to no purpose. They still ask the Editor how he can 
invent so many stories — more than Shakespeare, pumas, 
and Charles Dickens could have invented in a century. 
And the Editor still avers, in Prefaces, that he did not 
invent one of the stories ; that nobody knows, as a 
rule, who invented them, or where, or when. It is only 
plain that, perhaps a hundred thousand years ago, some 


savage grandmother told a tale to a savage granddaughter ; 
that the granddaughter told it in her turn ; that various 
tellers made changes to suit their taste, adding or 
omitting features and incidents ; that, as the world grew 
civilised, other alterations were made, and that, at last, 
Homer composed the ' Odyssey/ and somebody else com- 
posed the Story of Jason and the Fleece of Gold, and the 
enchantress Medea, out of a set of wandering popular 
tales, which are still told among Samoyeds and Samoans, 
Hindoos and Japanese. 

All this has been known to the wise and learned for 
centuries, and especially since the brothers Grimm wrote 
in the early years of the Nineteenth Century. But 
children remain unaware of the facts, and so do their 
dear mothers ; whence the Editor infers that they do 
not read his prefaces, and are not members of the Folk- 
Lore Society, or students of Herr Kohler and M. 
Cosquin, and M. Henri Guidoz and Professor Child, 
and Mr. Max Muller. Though these explanations are 
not attended to by the Editor's customers, he makes 
them once more, for the relief of his conscience. Many 
tales in this book are translated, or adapted, from those 
told by mothers and nurses in Hungary ; others are 
familiar to Eussian nurseries ; the Servians are responsible 
for some ; a rather peculiarly fanciful set of stories are 
adapted from the Eoumanians ; others are from the 
Baltic shores ; others from sunny Sicily ; a few are 
from Finland, and Iceland, and Japan, and Tunis, and 
Portugal. No doubt many children will like to look out 
these places on the map, and study their mountains, 
rivers, soil, products, and fiscal policies, in the geography 
books. The peoples who tell the stories differ in colour, 
language, religion, and almost everything else ; but they 
all love a nursery tale. The stories have mainly been 
adapted or translated by Mrs. Lang, a few by Miss Lang 
and Miss Blackley. 



Lovely Ilonka ......... 1 

Lucky Lack . 8 

The Hairy Man 22 

To your Good Health /..,,.,. 29 
The Story of the Seven Simons , . . . . . 37 

The Language of Beasts 55 

The Boy who could keep a Secret . , . . . . 62 

The Prince and the Dragon 80 

Little Wildrose 93 

Tiidu the Piper 108 

Paperarello 122 

The Gifts of the Magician 1 34 

The Strong Prince 145 

The Treasure Seeker . .155 

The Cottager and his Cat 174 

The Prince who ivould seek Immortality .... 178 

The Stone-cutter 192 

The Gold-bearded Man 198 

Tritill, Litill, and the Birds . . . . . . 213 

The Three Bobes 221 

The Six Hungry Beasts 233 

How the Beggar Boy turned into Count Piro . . . 243 

The Bogue and the Herdsman 253 

Eisenkopf 262 



The Death of Abu Nowas and of his Wife . . 273 

MoWkatika 279 

Niels and the Giants 284 

Shepherd Paul . . 295 

Hoiv the wicked Tanuki was punished .... 306 

The Crab and the Monkey 310 

The Horse Gullfaxi and the Stoord Gunnfoder . . 314 

The Story of the Sham Prince, or the Ambitious Tailor 326 

The Colony of Cats 340 

How to find out a True Friend 350 

Clever Maria 359 

The Magic Kettle ........ 368 


(Engraved and printed by Messrs. Andre & Sleigh, Ltd., Bushey) 

Ilonka left with the Sivineherd (p. 5) . . . Frontisjriece 

The Ship arrives ....,, to face p. 48 

She lived happily in her Nest .... ,, 98 

She came smiling toivards the Youth . . ,, 142 

The Prince %6ho would seek immortality . . „ 190 

Blauvor and Laufer on the Island . . . „ 222 

Eisenkopf ........ „ 270 

Sigurd meets Helga by the Lake and gives her a 

Ring . . . 818 


The First Bulrush-Maiden flies away . . . to face p. 

The Faithful Servant turns into stone 

The Complaint of the Three Maidens . 

The Prince lets out the Hairy Man , 

Staring-eyes in the White Bear's Pit . 

The Sixth Simon catches the Eagle 

The lovely Helena comes ashore 

The Shepherd comes to the Arch of Snakes 

The Boy ivho could keep a Secret 




The Princess feeds the Boy . . . , to face p. 70 

The Witch loses her Iron Nose . . . . „ 76 

Hoiv the Dragon caught the Prince . „ 80 

The Kiss that gave the Victory .... „ 88 

The Eagle carries off little Wildrose . „ 96 

The Bay of Light ,,100 

The Horse brings the Boy to the Fairies' 

House ,,122 

The King gives the Princess to Paperarello in 

the Bakehouse ,, 126 

The Magician saved from the Wolves . . „ 134 
The Magician throivs the Tree and the King 

up into the Air . ... „ 140 

The Prince ivins the Sword .... „ 146 

The Strong Prince enters the Giant's Castle . „ 150 

Shepherd and Treasure- Seeker . „ 156 
How the Prince arrived at the City of 

Immortality „ 184 

The Stone-cutter becomes himself again . . „ 194 

The Golden-bearded Man gives up the Arrow . „ 200 

The Wonderful Baby ,,208 

Lineik caught by the Prince .... „ 228 
The little Fox frightens the Ogre and his 

Wife ,,246 

Eisenkopf comes to the Wedding ... „ 264 
Shepherd Paul conquers the Six-headed 

Dragon „ 298 

The Maidens ascend „ 302 

The deadly Hailstorm „ 320 

Lizina comes out of the Jar . . . . ,, 342 

Clever Maria „ 360 

Maria and the King „ 364 




The Faithful Servant and the Three Eagles ... 9 
Little Wildrose peeps down from the Eagle's Nest . . 103 
The Witch rims aivay ivith Wildrose .... 106 

The Long Noses 5 . 119 

The Bald headed Man on the Mountain .... 181 
Lititt, Tritill, and the Birds to the rescue . . . 217 

Michael the Fox did not run away as the others had done 235 

Why the tip of his Tail is White 241 

The Woman and the Ogre .... = .. 281 
The Monkey's Punishment ...,.,. 312 


There was once a king's son who told his father that he 
wished to marry. 

1 No, no ! ' said the king ; ' you must not be in such 
a hurry. Wait till you have done some great deed. My 
father did not let me marry till I had won the golden 
sword you see me wear.' 

The prince was much disappointed, but he never 
dreamed of disobeying his father, and he began to think 
with all his might what he could do. It w r as no use 
staying at home, so one day he wandered out into the 
world to try his luck, and as he walked along he came to 
a little hut in w T hich he found an old woman crouching 
over the fire. 

' Good evening, mother. I see you have lived long 
in this world ; do you know anything about the three 
bulrushes ? ' 

1 Yes, indeed, I've lived long and been much about in 
the world, but I have never seen or heard anything of 
what you ask. Still, if you will wait till to-morrow I 
may be able to tell you something.' 

Well, he waited till the morning, and quite early the old 
woman appeared and took out a little pipe and blew in it, 
and in a moment all the crows in the world were flying 
about her. Not one was missing. Then she asked if 
they knew anything about the three bulrushes, but not 
one of them did. 

The prince went on his way, and a little further on he 
found another hut in which lived an old man. On being 
c. B 


questioned the old man said he knew nothing, but begged 
the prince to stay overnight, and the next morning the 
old man called all the ravens together, but they too had 
nothing to tell. 

The prince bade him farewell and set out. He 
wandered so far that he crossed seven kingdoms, and at 
last, one evening, he came to a little house in which was 
an old woman. 

1 Good evening, dear mother,' said he politely. 

* Good evening to you, my dear son,' answered the old 
woman. ' It is lucky for you that you spoke to me or 
you would have met with a horrible death. But may I 
ask where are you going ? ' 

' I am seeking the three bulrushes. Do you know 
anything about them ? ' 

' I don't know anything myself, but wait till to-morrow. 
Perhaps I can tell you then.' So the next morning 
she blew on her pipe, and lo ! and behold every magpie 
in the world flew up. That is to say, all the magpies 
except one who had broken a leg and a wing. The old 
woman sent after it at once, and when she questioned the 
magpies the crippled one was the only one who knew 
where the three bulrushes were. 

Then the prince started off with the lame magpie. 
They went on and on till they reached a great stone wall, 
many, many feet high. 

' Now, prince,' said the magpie, ' the three bulrushes 
are behind that wall.' 

The prince wasted no time. He set his horse at the 
wall and leaped over it. Then he looked about for the 
three bulrushes, pulled them up and set off with them on 
his way home. As he rode along one of the bulrushes 
happened to knock against something. It split open and, 
only think ! out sprang a lovely girl, who said : ' My 
heart's love, you are mine and I am yours ; do give me a 
glass of water.' 

But how could the prince give it her when there was 


no water at hand ? So the lovely maiden flew away. 
He split the second bulrush as an experiment and just 
the same thing happened. 

How careful he was of the third bulrush ! He waited 
till he came to a well, and there he split it open, and out 
sprang a maiden seven times lovelier than either of the 
others, and she too said : l My heart's love, I am yours 
and you are mine ; do give me a glass of water.' 

This time the water was ready and the girl did not fly 
away, but she and the prince promised to love each other 
always. Then they set out for home. 

They soon reached the prince's country, and as he 
wished to bring his promised bride back in a fine coach 
he went on to the town to fetch one. In the field where 
the well was, the king's swineherds and cowherds were 
feeding their droves, and the prince left Ilonka (for that 
was her name) in their care. 

Unluckily the chief swineherd had an ugly old 
daughter, and whilst the prince was away he dressed her 
up in fine clothes, and threw Ilonka into the well. 

The prince returned before long, bringing with him his 
father and mother and a great train of courtiers to escort 
Ilonka home. But how they all stared when they saw the 
swineherd's ugly daughter ! However, there was nothing 
for it but to take her home ; and, two days later, the prince 
married her, and his father gave up the crown to him. 

But he had no peace ! He knew very well he had 
been cheated, though he could not think how. Once he 
desired to have some water brought him from the well 
into which Ilonka had been thrown. The coachman 
went for it and, in the bucket he pulled up, a pretty little 
duck was swimming. He looked wonderingly at it, and 
all of a sudden it disappeared and he found a dirty looking 
girl standing near him. The girl returned with him and 
managed to get a place as housemaid in the palace. 

Of course she was very busy all day long, but when- 
ever she had a little spare time she sat down to spin. 


Her distaff turned of itself and her spindle span by itself 
and the flax wound itself off ; and however much she might 
use there was always plenty left. 

When the queen— or, rather, the swineherd's daughter 
— heard of this, she very much wished to have the distaff, 
but the girl flatly refused to give it to her. However, at 
last she consented on condition that she might sleep one 
night in the king's room. The queen was very angry, and 
scolded her well ; but as she longed to have the distaff she 
consented, though she gave the king a sleeping draught at 

Then the girl went to the king's room looking seven 
times lovelier than ever. She bent over the sleeper and 
said: 'My heart's love, I am yours and you are mine. 
Speak to me but once; I am your Ilonka.' But the 
king was so sound asleep he neither heard nor spoke, 
and Ilonka left the room, sadly thinking he was ashamed 
to own her. 

Soon after the queen again sent to say that she 
wanted to buy the spindle. The girl agreed to let her 
have it on the same conditions as before ; but this time, 
also, the queen took care to give the king a sleeping 
draught. And once more Ilonka went to the king's room 
and spoke to him ; whisper as sweetly as she might she 
could get no answer. 

Now some of the king's servants had taken note of 
the matter, and warned their master not to eat and drink 
anything that the queen offered him, as for two nights 
running she had given him a sleeping draught. The 
queen had no idea that her doings had been discovered ; 
and when, a few days later, she wanted the flax, and had 
to pay the same price for it, she felt no fears at all. 

At supper that night the queen offered the king all 
sorts of nice things to eat and drink, but he declared he 
was not hungry, and went early to bed. 

The queen repented bitterly her promise to the girl, 
but it was too late to recall it ; for Ilonka had already 


entered the king's room, where he lay anxiously waiting 
for something, he knew not what. All of a sudden he 
saw a lovely maiden who bent over him and said : ' My 
dearest love, I am yours and you are mine. Speak to me, 
for I am your Ilonka.' 

At these words the king's heart bounded within him. 
He sprang up and embraced and kissed her, and she told 
him all her adventures since the moment he had left her. 
And when he heard all that Ilonka had suffered, and how 
he had been deceived, he vowed he would be revenged ; 
so he gave orders that the swineherd, his wife and daughter 
should all be hanged ; and so they were. 

The next day the king was married, with great re- 
joicings, to the fair Ilonka ; and if they are not yet dead — 
why, they are still living. 

[From Ungarische Mahrchen.'] 


Once upon a time there was a king who had an only son. 
When the lad was about eighteen years old his father had 
to go to fight in a war against a neighbouring country, 
and the king led his troops in person. He bade his son 
act as Begent in his absence, but ordered him on no 
account to marry till his return. 

Time went by. The prince ruled the country and 
never even thought of marrying. But when he reached 
his twenty-fifth birthday he began to think that it might 
be rather nice to have a wife, and he thought so much 
that at last he got quite eager about it. He remembered, 
however, what his father had said, and waited some time 
longer, till at last it was ten years since the king went out 
to war. Then the prince called his courtiers about him 
and set off with a great retinue to seek a bride. He 
hardly knew which way to go, so he wandered about for 
twenty days, when, suddenly, he found himself in his 
father's camp. 

The king was delighted to see his son, and had a great 
many questions to ask and answer ; but when he heard 
that instead of quietly waiting for him at home the prince 
was starting off to seek a wife he was very angry, and 
said : ' You may go where you please but I will not leave 
any of my people with you.' 

Only one faithful servant stayed with the prince and 
refused to part from him. They journeyed over hill and dale 
till they came to a place called Goldtown. The King of 
Goldtown had a lovely daughter, and the prince, who soon 
heard about her beauty, could not rest till he saw her, 


He was very kindly received, for he was extremely 
good-looking and had charming manners, so he lost no 

time in asking for her hand and her parents gave her to 
him with joy. The wedding took place at once, and the 


feasting and rejoicings went on for a whole month. At 
the end of the month they set off for home, but as the 
journey was a long one they spent the first evening at an 
inn. Everyone in the house slept, and only the faithful 
servant kept watch. About midnight he heard three 
crows, who had flown to the roof, talking together. 

1 That's a handsome couple which arrived here to- 
night. It seems quite a pity they should lose their lives 
so soon.' 

1 Truly,' said the second crow ; ' for to-morrow, when 
midday strikes, the bridge over the Gold Stream will 
break just as they are driving over it. But, listen ! who- 
ever overhears and tells what we have said will be turned 
to stone up to his knees.' 

The crows had hardly done speaking when away they 
flew. And close upon them followed three pigeons. 

' Even if the prince and princess get safe over the 
bridge they will perish,' said they'; 'for the king is going 
to send a carriage to meet them which looks as new as 
paint. But when they are seated in it a raging wind will 
rise and whirl the carriage away into the clouds. Then 
it will fall suddenly to earth, and they will be killed. 
But anyone who hears and betrays what we have said 
will be turned to stone up to his waist,' 

With that the pigeons flew off and three eagles took 
their places, and this is what they said : 

1 If the young couple does manage to escape the 
dangers of the bridge and the carriage, the king means 
to send them each a splendid gold embroidered robe. 
When they put these on they will be burnt up at once. 
But whoever hears and repeats this will turn to stone 
from head to foot.' 

Early next morning the travellers got up and. break- 
fasted. They began to tell each other their dreams. At 
last the servant said : 

1 Gracious prince, I dreamt that if your Eoyal High- 
ness would grant all I asked we should get home safe and 


sound ; but if you did not we should certainly be lost. 
My dreams never deceive me, so I entreat you to follow 
my advice during the rest of the journey.' 

1 Don't make such a fuss about a dream,' said the 
prince ; ' dreams are but clouds. Still, to prevent your 
being anxious I will promise to do as you wish.' 

With that they set out on their journey. 

At midday they reached the Gold Stream. When they 
got to the bridge the servant said : ' Let us leave the 
carriage here, my prince, and walk a little way. The town 
is not far off and we can easily get another carriage there, 
for the wheels of this one are bad and will not hold out 
much longer.' 

The prince looked well at the carnage. He did not 
think it looked so unsafe as his servant said ; but he had 
given his word and he held to it. 

They got down and loaded the horses with the luggage. 
The prince and his bride walked over the bridge, but the 
servant said he would ride the horses through the stream 
so as to water and bathe them. 

They reached the other side without harm, and bought 
a new carriage in the town, which was quite near, and set 
off once more on their travels ; but they had not gone far 
when they met a messenger from the king who said to 
the prince : ' His Majesty has sent your Eoyal Highness 
this beautiful carriage so that you may make a fitting 
entry into your own country and amongst your own 

The prince was so delighted that he could not speak. 
But the servant said : ' My lord, let me examine this 
carriage first and then you can get in if I find it is all 
right ; otherwise we had better stay in our own.' 

The prince made no objections, and after looking the 
carriage well over the servant said : ' It is as bad as it is 
smart ' ; and with that he knocked it all to pieces, and 
they went on in the one that they had bought. 

At last they reached the frontier ; there another 


messenger was waiting for them, who said that the king 
had sent two splendid robes for the prince and his bride, 
and begged that they would wear them for their state 
entry. But the servant implored the prince to have 
nothing to do with them, and never gave him any peace 
till he had obtained leave to destroy the robes. 

The old king was furious when he found that all his 
arts had failed ; that his son still lived and that he would 
have to give up the crown to him now he was married, for 
that was the law of the land. He longed to know how 
the prince had escaped, and said : ' My dear son, I do 
indeed rejoice to have you safely back, but I cannot 
imagine why the beautiful carriage and the splendid robes 
I sent did not please you ; why you had them destroyed.' 

' Indeed, sire,' said the prince, ' I was myself much 
annoyed at their destruction ; but my servant had begged 
to direct everything on the journey and I had promised 
him that he should do so. He declared that we could 
not possibly get home safely unless I did as he told me.' 

The old king fell into a tremendous rage. He called 
his Council together and condemned the servant to death. 

The gallows was put up in the square in front of the 
palace. The servant was led out and his sentence read 
to him. 

The rope was being placed round his neck, when he 
begged to be allowed a few last words. ' On our journey 
home,' he said, ' we spent the first night at an inn. I did 
not sleep but kept watch all night.' And then he went 
on to tell what the crows had said, and as he spoke he 
turned to stone up to his knees. The prince called to 
him to say no more as he had proved his innocence. But 
the servant paid no heed to him, and by the time his 
story was done he had turned to stone from head to 

Oh ! how grieved the prince was to lose his faithful 
servant ! And what pained him most was the thought 
that he was lost through his very faithfulness, and he 



determined to travel all over the world and never rest 
till he found some means of restoring him to life. 

Now there lived at Court an old woman who had been 
the prince's nurse. To her he confided all his plans, and 
left his wife, the princess, in her care. ' You have a long 
way before you, my son,' said the old woman ; ' you must 
never return till you have met with Lucky Luck. If he 
cannot help you no one on earth can.' 

So the prince set off to try to find Lucky Luck. He 
walked and walked till he got beyond his own country, 
and he wandered through a wood for three days but did 
not meet a living being in it. At the end of the third day 
he came to a river near which stood a large mill. Here 
he spent the night. When he was leaving next morning 
the miller asked him : ' My gracious lord, where are you 
going all alone ? ' 

And the prince told him. 

' Then I beg your Highness to ask Lucky Luck this 
question : Why is it that though I have an excellent 
mill, with all its machinery complete, and get plenty of 
grain to grind, I am so poor that I hardly know how to 
live from one day to another ? ' 

The prince promised to inquire, and went on his way. 
He wandered about for three days more, and at the end 
of the third day saw a little town. It was quite late 
when he reached it, but he could discover no light any- 
where, and walked almost right through it without find- 
ing a house where he could turn in. But far away at the 
end of the town he saw a light in a window. He went 
straight to it and in the house were three girls playing a 
game together. The prince asked for a night's lodging 
and they took him in, gave him some supper and got a 
room ready for him, where he slept. 

Next morning when he was leaving they asked where 
he was going and he told them his story. ' Gracious 
prince,' said the maidens, ' do ask Lucky Luck how it 
happens that here we are over thirty years old and no 


lover has come to woo us, though we are good, pretty, 
and very industrious.' 

The prince promised to inquire, and went on his way. 

Then he came to a great forest and wandered about in 
it from morning to night and from night to morning 
before he got near the other end. Here he found a pretty 
stream which was different from other streams as, instead 
of flowing, it stood still and began to talk : ' Sir prince, 
tell me what brings you into these wilds ? I must have 
been flowing here a hundred years and more and no one 
has ever yet come by.' 

1 1 will tell you,' answered the prince, ' if you will divide 
yourself so that I may walk through.' 

The stream parted at once, and the prince walked 
through without wetting his feet ; and directly he got to 
the other side he told his story as he had promised. 

1 Oh, do ask Lucky Luck,' cried the brook, ' why, though 
I am such a clear, bright, rapid stream I never have a 
fish or any other living creature in my waters.' 

The prince said he would do so, and continued his 

When he got quite clear of the forest he walked on 
through a lovely valley till he reached a little house 
thatched with rushes, and he went in to rest for he was 
very tired. 

Everything in the house was beautifully clean and 
tidy, and a cheerful honest-looking old woman was sitting 
by the fire. 

I Good-morning, mother,' said the prince. 

' May Luck be with you, my son. What brings you 
into these parts ? ' 

I I am looking for Lucky Luck,' replied the prince. 

1 Then you have come to the right place, my son, for I 
am his mother. He is not at home just now, he is out 
digging in the vineyard. Do you go too. Here are two 
spades. When you find him begin to dig, but don't speak 
a word to him. It is now eleven o'clock. When he sits 

:^:^:the ship arrives >>: <&>:«&■: 



down to eat his dinner sit beside him and eat with him. 
After dinner he will question you, and then tell him all 
your troubles freely. He will answer whatever you may 

With that she showed him the way, and the prince 
went and did just as she had told him. After dinner they 
lay down to rest. 

All of a sudden Lucky Luck began to speak and said : 
' Tell me, what sort of man are you, for since you came 
here you have not spoken a word ? ' 

' I am not dumb,' replied the young man, ' but I am 
that unhappy prince whose faithful servant has been 
turned to stone, and I want to know how to help him.' 

' And you do well, for he deserves everything. Go 
back, and when you get home your wife will just have had 
a little boy. Take three drops of blood from the child's 
little finger, rub them on your servant's wrists with a 
blade of grass and he will return to life.' 

' I have another thing to ask/ said the prince, when he 
had thanked him. ' In the forest near here is a fine stream 
but not a fish or other living creature in it. Why is 

' Because no one has ever been drowned in the stream. 
But take care, in crossing, to get as near the other side as 
you can before you say so, or you may be the first victim 

' Another question, please, before I go. On my way 
here I lodged one night in the house of three maidens. 
All were well-mannered, hard-working, and pretty, and 
yet none has had a wooer. Why was this ? ' 

1 Because they always throw out their sweepings in 
the face of the sun.' 

' And why is it that a miller, who has a large mill with 
all the best machinery and gets plenty of corn to grind is 
so poor that he can hardly live from day to day ? ' 

' Because the miller keeps everything for himself, and 
does not give to those who need it.' 



The prince wrote down the answers to his questions, 
took a friendly leave of Lucky Luck, and set off for home. 

When he reached the stream it asked if he brought it 
any good news. ' When I get across I will tell you/ said 
he. So the stream parted ; he walked through and on to 
the highest part of the bank. He stopped and shouted 
out : 

1 Listen, oh stream ! Lucky Luck says you will never 
have any living creature in your waters until someone is 
drowned in you.' 

The words were hardly out of his mouth when the 
stream swelled and overflowed till it reached the rock up 
which he had climbed, and dashed so far up it that the 
spray flew over him. But he clung on tight, and after 
failing to reach him three times the stream returned to its 
proper course. Then the prince climbed down, dried 
himself in the sun, and set out on his march home. 

He spent the night once more at the mill and gave 
the miller his answer, and by-and-by he told the three 
sisters not to throw out all their sweepings in the face of 
the sun. 

The prince had hardly arrived at home when some 
thieves tried to ford the stream with a fine horse they had 
stolen. When they were half-way across, the stream rose 
so suddenly that it swept them all away. From that time 
it became the best fishing stream in the country-side. 

The miller, too, began to give alms and became a very 
good man, and in time grew so rich that he hardly knew 
how much he had. 

And the three sisters, now that they no longer insulted 
the sun, had each a wooer within a week. 

When the prince got home he found that his wife had 
just got a fine little boy. He did not lose a moment 
in pricking the baby's finger till the blood ran, and he 
brushed it on the wrists of the stone figure, which shud- 
dered all over and split with a loud noise in seven parts 
and there was the faithful servant alive and well. 


When the old king saw this he foamed with rage, 
stared wildly about, flung himself on the ground and 

The servant stayed on with his royal master and 
served him faithfully all the rest of his life ; and, if neither 
of them is dead, he is serving him still. 

[From Ungarische Mcihrchen,'] 



Somewhere or other, but I don't know where, there lived 
a king who owned two remarkably fine fields of rape, but 
every night two of the rape heaps were burnt down in one 
of the fields. The king was extremely angry at this, and 
sent out soldiers to catch whoever had set fire to the ricks ; 
but it was all of no use — not a soul could they see. Then 
he offered nine hundred crowns to anyone who caught 
the evil-doer, and at the same time ordered that whoever 
did not keep proper watch over the fields should be killed ; 
but though there were a great many people, none seemed 
able to protect the fields. 

The king had already put ninety-nine people to death, 
when a little swineherd came to him who had two dogs ; 
one was called ' Psst,' and the other * Hush ' ; and the boy 
told the king that he would watch over the ricks. 

When it grew dark he climbed up on the top of the 
fourth rick, from where he could see the whole field. 
About eleven o'clock he thought he saw someone going to 
a rick and putting a light to it. ' Just you wait,' thought 
he, and called out to his dogs : ' Hi ! Psst, Hush, catch 
him ! ' But Psst and Hush had not waited for orders, 
and in five minutes the man was caught. 

Next morning he was brought bound before the king, 
who was so pleased with the boy that he gave him a 
thousand crowns at once. The prisoner was all covered 
with hair, almost like an animal ; and altogether he was 
so curious to look at that the king locked him up in a 
strong room and sent out letters of invitation to all the 


bther kings and princes asking them to come and see this 

That was all very well ; but the king had a little boy 
of ten years old who went to look at the hairy man also, 
and the man begged so hard to be set free that the boy 
took pity on him. He stole the key of the strong room 
from his mother and opened the door. Then he took the 
key back, but the hairy man escaped and went off into 
the world. 

Then the kings and princes began to arrive one after 
another, and all were most anxious to see the hairy man ; 
but he was gone ! The king nearly burst with rage and 
with the shame he felt. He questioned his wife sharply, 
and told her that if she could not find and bring back the 
hairy man he would put her in a hut made of rushes and 
burn her there. The queen declared she had had nothing 
to do with the matter ; if her son had happened to take 
the key it had not been with her knowledge. 

So they fetched the little prince and asked him all 
sorts of questions, and at last he owned that he had let the 
hairy man out. The king ordered his servants to take 
the boy into the forest and to kill him there, and to bring 
back part of his liver and lungs. 

There was grief all over the palace when the king's 
command was known, for he was a great favourite. But 
there was no help for it, and they took the boy out into 
the forest. But the man was sorry for him, and shot a 
dog and carried pieces of his lungs and liver to the king, 
who was satisfied, and did not trouble himself any more. 

The prince wandered about in the forest and lived as 
best he could for five years. One day he came upon a 
poor little cottage in which was an old man. They began 
to talk, and the prince told his story and sad fate. Then 
they recognised each other, for the old fellow was no 
other than the hairy man whom the prince had set free, 
and who had lived ever since in the forest. 

The prince stayed here for two years ; then he wished 


to go further. The old man begged him hard to stay, 
but he would not, so his hairy friend gave him a golden 
apple out of which came a horse with a golden mane, and 
a golden staff with which to guide the horse. The old 
man also gave him a silver apple out of which came the 
most beautiful hussars and a silver staff; and a copper 
apple from which he could draw as many foot soldiers as 
ever he wished, and a copper staff. He made the prince 
swear solemnly to take the greatest care of these presents, 
and then he let him go. 

The boy wandered on and on till he came to a large 
town. Here he took service in the king's palace, and as 
no one troubled themselves about him he lived quietly on. 

One day news was brought to the king that he must 
go out to war. He was horribly frightened for he had a 
very small army, but he had to go all the same. 

When they had all left, the prince said to the house- 
keeper : 

'Give me leave to go to the next village — I owe a 
small bill there, and I want to go and pay it ' ; and as 
there was nothing to be done in the palace the house- 
keeper gave him leave. 

When he got beyond the town he took out his golden 
apple, and when the horse sprang out he swung himself 
into the saddle. Then he took the silver and the copper 
apples, and with all these fine soldiers he joined the 
king's army. 

The king saw them approach with fear in his heart, 
for he did not know if it might not be an enemy ; but the 
prince rode up, and bowed low before him. ' I bring 
your Majesty reinforcements,' said he. 

The king was delighted, and all dread of his enemy 
at once disappeared. The princesses were there too, and 
they were very friendly with the prince and begged him 
to get into their carriage so as to talk to them. But he 
declined, and remained on horseback, as he did not know 
at what moment the battle might begin ; and whilst they 


were all talking together the youngest princess, who was 
also the loveliest, took off her ring, and her sister tore her 
handkerchief in two pieces, and they gave these gifts to 
the prince. 

Suddenly the enemy came in sight. The king asked 
whether his army or the prince's should lead the way ; but . 
the prince set off first and with his hussars he fought so 
bravely that only two of the enemy were left alive, and 
these two were only spared to act as messengers. 

The king was overbed and so were his daughters at 
this brilliant victory. As they drove home they begged 
the prince to join them, but he would not come, and 
galloped off with his hussars. 

When he got near the town he packed his soldiers and 
his fine horse all carefully into the apple again, and then 
strolled into the town. On his return to the palace he 
was well scolded by the housekeeper for staying away so 

Well, the whole matter might have ended there ; but it 
so happened that the younger princess had fallen in love 
with the prince, as he had with her. And as he had no 
jewels with him, he gave her the copper apple and staff. 

One day, as the princesses were talking with their 
father, the younger one asked him whether it might not 
have been their servant who had helped him so much. 
The king was quite angry at the idea ; but, to satisfy her, 
he ordered the servant's room to be searched. And there, 
to everyone's surprise, they found the golden ring and the 
half of the handkerchief. When these were brought to the 
king he sent for the prince at once and asked if it had 
been he who had come to their rescue. 

' Yes, your Majesty, it was I,' answered the prince. 

' But where did you get your army ? ' 

' If you wish to see it, I can show it you outside the 
city walls.' 

And so he did ; but first he asked for the copper apple 
from the younger princess, and when all the soldiers were 


drawn up there were such numbers that there was barely 
room for them. 

The king gave him his daughter and kingdom as a 
reward for his aid, and when he heard that the prince was 
himself a king's son his joy knew no bounds. The prince 
packed all his soldiers carefully up once more, and they 
went back into the town. 

Not long after there was a grand wedding; perhaps 
they may all be alive still, but I don't know. 



Long, long ago there lived a king who was such a mighty 
monarch that whenever he sneezed every one in the 
whole country had to say ' To your good health ! ' Every 
one said it except the shepherd with the staring eyes, 
and he would not say it. 

The king heard of this and was very angry, and sent 
for the shepherd to appear before him. 

The shepherd came and stood before the throne, where 
the king sat looking very grand and powerful. But how- 
ever grand or powerful he might be the shepherd did not 
feel a bit afraid of him. 

' Say at once, " To my good health ! " ' cried the king. 

' To my good health ! ' replied the shepherd. 

' To mine — to mine, you rascal, you vagabond I ' stormed 
the king. 

' To mine, to mine, your Majesty,' was the answer. 

' But to mine — to my own,' roared the king, and beat 
on his breast in a rage. 

1 Well, yes ; to mine, of course, to my own,' cried the 
shepherd, and gently tapped his breast. 

The king was beside himself with fury and did not 
know what to do, when the Lord Chamberlain interfered : 

* Say at once — say this very moment : "To your health, 
your Majesty " ; for if you don't say it you'll lose your life,' 
whispered he. 

' No, I won't say it till I get the princess for my wife,' 
was the shepherd's answer. Now the princess was sitting 
on a little throne beside the king, her father, and she 


looked as sweet and lovely as a little golden dove. When 
she heard what the shepherd said she could not help laugh- 
ing, for there is no denying the fact that this young shep- 
herd with the staring eyes pleased her very much ; indeed 
he pleased her better than any king's son she had yet seen. 
But the king was not as pleasant as his daughter, 
and he gave orders to throw the shepherd into the white 
bear's pit. 

The guards led him away and thrust him into the pit 
with the white bear, who had had nothing to eat for two 
days and was very hungry. The door of the pit was 
hardly closed when the bear rushed at the shepherd ; but 
when it saw his eyes it was so frightened that it was 
ready to eat itself. It shrank away into a corner and 
gazed at him from there, and, in spite of being so 
famished, did not dare to touch him, but sucked its own 
paws from sheer hunger. The shepherd felt that if he 
once removed his eyes off the beast he was a dead man, 
and in order to keep himself awake he made songs and 
sang them, and so the night went by. 

Next morning the Lord Chamberlain came to see the 
shepherd's bones, and was amazed to find him alive and 
well. He led him to the king, who fell into a furious 
passion, and said : ' Well, you have learned what it is to 
be very near death, and now will you say " To my good 
health " ? ' 

But the shepherd answered : 'I am not afraid of ten 
deaths ! I will only say it if I may have the princess for 
my wife.' 

' Then go to your death,' cried the king ; and ordered 
him to be thrown into the den with the wild boars. The 
wild boars had not been fed for a week, and when the 
shepherd was thrust into their d©n they rushed at him 
to tear him to pieces. But the shepherd took a little 
flute out of the sleeve of his jacket and began to play a 
merry tune, on which the wild boars first of all shrank 
shyly away, and then, got up on their hind legs and 


danced gaily. The shepherd would have given anything 
to be able to laugh, they looked so funny ; but he dared 
not stop playing, for he knew well enough that the 
moment he stopped they would fall upon him and tear 
him to pieces. His eyes were of no use to him here, for 
he could not have stared ten wild boars in the face at 
once ; so he kept on playing, and the wild boars danced 
very slowly, as if in a minuet, then by degrees he played 
faster and faster till they could hardly twist and turn 
quickly enough, and ended by all falling over each other 
in a heap, quite exhausted and out of breath. 

Then the shepherd ventured to laugh at last ; and he 
laughed so long and so loud that when the Lord Chamber- 
lain came early in the morning, expecting to find only his 
bones, the tears were still running down his cheeks from 

As soon as the king was dressed the shepherd was 
again brought before him ; but he was more angry than 
ever to think the wild boars had not torn the man to bits, 
and he said : ' Well, you have learned what it feels to be 
near ten deaths, now say " To my good health ! " 

But the shepherd broke in with, ' I do not fear a 
hjindred deaths, and I will only say it if I may have the 
princess for my wife.' 

' Then go to a hundred deaths ! ' roared the king, and 
ordered the shepherd to be thrown down the deep vault of 

The guards dragged him away to a dark dungeon, in 
the middle of which was a deep well with sharp scythes 
all round it. At the bottom of the well was a little light 
by which one could see if anyone was thrown in whether 
he had fallen to the bottom. 

When the shepherd was dragged to the dungeons he 
begged the guards to leave him alone a little while that 
he might look down into the pit of scythes ; perhaps he 
might after all make up his mind to say ' To your good 
health ' to the king. So the guards left him alone and 
a d 


he stuck up his long stick near the well, hung his cloak 
round the stick and put his hat on the top. He also hung 
his knapsack up inside the cloak so that it might seem to 
have some body within it. When this was done he called 
out to the guards and said that he had considered the 
matter but after all he could not make up his mind to say 
what the king wished. The guards came in, threw the 
hat and cloak, knapsack and stick all down the well 
together, watched to see how they put out the light at the 
bottom and came away, thinking that now there really 
was an end of the shepherd. But he had hidden in a 
dark corner and was laughing to himself all the time. 

Quite early next morning came the Lord Chamberlain, 
carrying a lamp and he nearly fell backwards with sur- 
prise when he saw the shepherd alive and well. He 
brought him to the king, whose fury was greater than 
ever, but who cried : 

1 Well, now you have been near a hundred deaths ; 
will you say : "To your good health " ? ' 

But the shepherd only gave the same answer : 
' I won't say it till the princess is my wife.' 
' Perhaps after all you may do it for less,' said the 
king, who saw that there was no chance of making away 
with the shepherd ; and he ordered the state coach to be 
got ready, then he made the shepherd get in with him 
and sit beside him, and ordered the coachman to drive to 
the silver wood. When they reached it he said : ' Do you 
see this silver wood ? Well, if you will say, " To your 
good health," I will give it to you.' 

The shepherd turned hot and cold by turns, but he still 
persisted : 

' I will not say it till the princess is my wife.' 
The king was much vexed; he drove further on till 
they came to a splendid castle, all of gold, and then he 
said : 

1 Do you see this golden castle ? Well, I will give 
you that too, the silver wood and the golden castle, if 


only you will say that one thing to me : " To your good 
health." ' 

The shepherd gaped and wondered and was quite 
dazzled, but he still said : 

' No ; I will not say it till I have the princess for my 

This time the king was overwhelmed with grief, and 
gave orders to drive on to the diamond pond, and there 
he tried once more. 

1 Do you see this diamond pond ? I will give you 
that too, the silver wood and the golden castle and the 
diamond pond. You shall have them all — all — if you will 
but say : "To your good health ! " 

The shepherd had to shut his staring eyes tight not to 
be dazzled with the brilliant pond, but still he said : 

' No, no ; I will not say it till I have the princess for 
my wife.' 

Then the king saw that all his efforts were useless, 
and that he might as well give in, so he said : 

1 Well, well, it's all the same to me — I will give you 
my daughter to wife ; but, then, you really and truly must 
say to me : "To your good health." ' 

1 Of course I'll say it ; why should I not say it ? It 
stands to reason that I shall say it then.' 

At this the king was more delighted than anyone 
could have believed. He made it known all through the 
country that there were to be great rejoicings, as the 
princess was going to be married. And everyone rejoiced 
to think that the princess, who had refused so many royal 
suitors, should have ended by falling in love with the 
staring-eyed shepherd. 

There was such a wedding as had never been seen. 
Everyone ate and drank and danced. Even the sick were 
feasted, and quite tiny new-born children had presents 
given them. 

But the greatest merry-making was in the king's 
palace ; there the best bands played and the best food 

D 2 


was cooked ; a crowd of people sat down to table, and all 
was fun and merry-making. 

And when the groomsman, according to custom, 
brought in the great boar's head on a big dish and placed 
it before the king so that he might carve it and give 
everyone a share, the savoury smell was so strong that 
the king began to sneeze with all his might. 

1 To your very good health,' cried the shepherd before 
anyone else, and the king was so delighted that he did 
not regret having given him his daughter. 

In time, when the old king died, the shepherd suc- 
ceeded him. He made a very good king and never 
expected his people to wish him well against their wills ; 
but, all the same, everyone did wish him well, for they all 
loved him. 

[From Russische Miihrchen.] 



Far, far away, beyond all sorts of countries, seas and 
rivers, there stood a splendid city where lived King 
Archidej, who was as good as he was rich and handsome. 
His great army was made up of men ready to obey his 
slightest wish ; he owned forty times forty cities, and in 
each city he had ten palaces with silver doors, golden 
roofs, and crystal windows. His council consisted of the 
twelve wisest men in the country, whose long beards 
flowed down over their breasts, each of whom was as 
learned as a whole college. This council always told the 
king the exact truth. 

Now the king had everything to make him happy, 
but he did not enjoy anything because he could not find a 
bride to his mind. 

One day, as he sat in his palace looking out to sea, a 
great ship sailed into the harbour and several meixhants 
came on shore. Said the king to himself : ' These people 
have travelled far and beheld many lands, I will ask 
them if they have seen any princess who is as clever and 
as handsome as I am.' 

So he ordered the merchants to be brought before 
him, and when they came he said : ' You have travelled 
much and visited many wonders. I wish to ask you a 
question, and I beg you to answer truthfully. 

' Have you anywhere seen or heard of the daughter of 
an emperor, king, or a prince, who is as clever and as 
handsome as I am, and who would be worthy to be my 
wife and the queen of my country ? ' 


The merchants considered for some time. At last the 
eldest of them said : ' I have heard that across many seas, 
in the Island of Busan, there is a mighty king, whose 
daughter, the Princess Helena, is so lovely that she can 
certainly not be plainer than your Majesty, and so clever 
that the wisest greybeard cannot guess her riddles.' 

1 Is the island far off, and which is the way to it ? ' 

' It is not near/ was the answer. ' The journey would 
take ten years, and we do not know the way. And even 
if we did, what use would that be ? The princess is no 
bride for you.' 

1 How dare you say so ? ' cried the king angrily. 

1 Your Majesty must pardon us ; but just think for a 
moment. Should you send an envoy to the island he will 
take ten years to get there and ten more to return —twenty 
years in all. Will not the princess have grown old in 
that time and have lost all her beauty ? ' 

The king reflected gravely. Then he thanked the 
merchants, gave them leave to trade in his country with- 
out paying any duties, and dismissed them. 

After they were gone the king remained deep in 
thought. He felt puzzled and anxious ; so he decided to 
ride into the country to distract his mind, and sent for his 
huntsmen and falconers. The huntsmen blew their horns, 
the falconers took their hawks on their wrists, and off 
they all set out across country till they came to a green 
hedge. On the other side of the hedge stretched a great 
field of maize as far as the eye could reach, and the yellow 
ears swayed to and fro in the gentle breeze like a rippling 
sea of gold. 

The king drew rein and admired the field. 'Upon 
my word,' said he, ' whoever dug and planted it must be 
good workmen. If all the fields in my kingdom were as 
well cared for as this, there would be more bread than my 
people could eat.' And he wished to know to whom the 
field belonged. 

Off rushed all his followers at once to do his bidding, 


and found a nice, tidy farmhouse, in front of which sat 
seven peasants, lunching on rye bread and drinking water. 
They wore red shirts bound with gold braid, and were 
so much alike that one could hardly tell one from 

The messengers asked : ' Who owns this field of golden 
maize ? ' And the seven brothers answered : ' The field 
is ours.' 

1 And who are you ? ' 

1 We are King Archidej's labourers.' 

These answers were repeated to the king, who 
ordered the brothers to be brought before him at once. 
On being asked who they were, the eldest said, bowing 
low : 

' We, King Archidej, are your labourers, children of 
one father and mother, and we all have the same name, 
for each of us is called Simon. Our father taught us to 
be true to our king, and to till the ground, and to be 
kind to our neighbours. He also taught each of us a 
different trade which he thought might be useful to us, 
and he bade us not neglect our mother earth, which would 
be sure amply to repay our labour.' 

The king was pleased with the honest peasant, and 
said : ' You have done well, good people, in planting your 
field, and now you have a golden harvest. But I should 
like each of you to tell me what special trades your father 
taught you.' 

' My trade, king ! ' said the first Simon, * is not an 
easy one. If you will give me some workmen and 
materials I will build you a great white pillar that shall 
reach far above the clouds.' 

' Very good,' replied the king. ' And you, Simon the 
second, what is your trade ? ' 

1 Mine, your Majesty, needs no great cleverness. 
When my brother has built the pillar I can mount it, and 
from the top, far above the clouds, I can see what is 
happening in every country under the sun.' 


1 Good,' said the king ; ' and Simon the third ? ' 

' My work is very simple, sire. You have many ships 
built by learned men, with all sorts of new and clever 
improvements. If you wish it I will build you quite a 
simple boat — one, two, three, and it's done 1 But my 
plain little home-made ship is not grand enough for a 
king. Where other ships take a year, mine makes the 
voyage in a day, and where they would require ten years 
mine will do the distance in a week.' 

1 Good,' said the king again ; ' and what has Simon 
the fourth learnt ? ' 

1 My trade, king, is really of no importance. 
Should my brother build you a ship, then let me embark 
in it. If we should be pursued by an enemy I can seize 
our boat by the prow and sink it to the bottom of the sea. 
When the enemy has sailed off, I can draw it up to the 
top again.' 

' That is very clever of you,' answered the king ; ' and 
what does Simon the fifth do ? ' 

1 My work, your Majesty, is mere smith's work. Order 
me to build a smithy and I will make you a cross-bow, 
but from which neither the eagle in the sky nor the wild 
beast in the forest is safe. The bolt hits whatever the 
eye sees.' 

' That sounds very useful,' said the king. ' And now, 
Simon the sixth, tell me your trade.' 

' Sire, it is so simple I am almost ashamed to mention 
it. If my brother hits any creature I catch it quicker 
than any dog can. If it falls into the water I pick it up 
out of the greatest depths, and if it is in a dark forest I 
can find it even at midnight.' 

The king was much pleased with the trades and talk 
of the six brothers, and said : ' Thank you, good people ; 
your father did well to teach you all these things. Now 
follow me to the town, as I want to see what you can do. 
I need such people as you about me ; but when harvest 
time comes I will send you home with royal presents.' 



The brothers bowed and said : ' As the king wills.' 
Suddenly the king remembered that he had not ques- 
tioned the seventh Simon, so he turned to him and said : 
' Why are you silent ? What is your handicraft ? ' 

And the seventh Simon answered : ' I have no handi- 
craft, O king ; I have learnt nothing. I could not 
manage it. And if I do know how to do anything it is 
not what might properly be called a real trade — it is 
rather a sort of performance ; but it is one which no one — 
not the king himself — must watch me doing, and I doubt 
whether this performance of mine would please your 

' Come, come,' cried the king ; * I will have no 
excuses, what is this trade ? ' 

' First, sire, give me your royal word that you will not 
kill me when I have told you. Then you shall hear.' 

' So be it, then ; I give you my royal word.' 

Then the seventh Simon stepped back a little, cleared 
his throat, and said : ' My trade, King Archidej, is of such 
a kind that the man who follows it in your kingdom 
generally loses his life and has no hopes of pardon. 
There is only one thing I can do really well, and that is — 
to steal, and to hide the smallest scrap of anything I have 
stolen. Not the deepest vault, even if its lock were 
enchanted, could prevent my stealing anything out of it 
that I wished to have.' 

When the king heard this he fell into a passion. ' I 
will not pardon you, you rascal,' he cried ; ' I will shut you 
up in my deepest dungeon on bread and water till you 
have forgotten such a trade. Indeed, it would be better 
to put you to death at once, and I've a good mind to 
do so.' 

' Don't kill me, king ! I am really not as bad as 
you think. Why, had I chosen, I could have robbed the 
royal treasury, have bribed your judges to let me off, and 
built a white marble palace with what was left. But 
though I know how to steal I don't do it. You yourself 


asked me my trade. If you kill me you will break your 
royal word.' 

1 Very well,' said the king, ' I will not kill you. I 
pardon you. But from this hour you shall be shut up in 
a dark dungeon. Here, guards ! away with him to the 
prison. But you six Simons follow me and be assured of 
my royal favour.' 

So the six Simons followed the king. The seventh 
Simon was seized by the guards, who put him in chains 
and threw him in prison with only bread and water for 
food. Next day the king gave the first Simon carpenters, 
masons, smiths and labourers, with great stores of iron, 
mortar, and the like, and Simon began to build. And he 
built his great white pillar far, far up into the clouds, as 
high as the nearest stars ; but the other stars were higher 

Then the second Simon climbed up the pillar and saw 
and heard all that was going on through the w T hole world. 
When he came down he had all sorts of wonderful things 
to tell. How one king was marching in battle against 
another, and which was likely to be the victor. How, in 
another place, great rejoicings were going on, while in a 
third people were dying of famine. In fact there was not 
the smallest event going on over the earth that was hidden 
from him. 

Next the third Simon began. He stretched out his 
arms, once, twice, thrice, and the wonder-ship was ready. 
At a sign from the king it was launched, and floated 
proudly and safely like a bird on the waves. Instead of 
ropes it had wires for rigging, and musicians played on 
them with fiddle bows and made lovely music. As the 
ship swam about, the fourth Simon seized the prow with 
his strong hand, and in a moment it was gone — sunk to 
the bottom of the sea. An hour passed, and then the ship 
floated again, drawn up by Simon's left hand, while in his 
right he brought a gigantic fish from the depth of the 
ocean for the royal table. 


Whilst this was going on the fifth Simon had built his 
forge and hammered out his iron, and when the king 
returned from the harbour the magic cross-bow was made. 

His Majesty went out into an open field at once, looked 
up into the sky and saw, far, far away, an eagle flying up 
towards the sun and looking like a little speck. 

' Now,' said the king, ' if you can shoot that bird I will 
reward you/ 

Simon only smiled ; he lifted his cross-bow, took aim, 
fired, and the eagle fell. As it was falling the sixth Simon 
ran with a dish, caught the bird before it fell to earth and 
brought it to the king. 

' Many thanks, my brave lads,' said the king ; ' I see 
that each of you is indeed a master of his trade. You 
shall be richly rewarded. But now rest and have your 

The six Simons bowed and went to dinner. But 
they had hardly begun before a messenger came to say 
that the king wanted to see them. They obeyed at once 
and found him surrounded by all his court and men of 

' Listen, my good fellows/ cried the king, as soon as 
he saw them. ' Hear what my wise counsellors have 
thought of. As you, Simon the second, can see the 
whole world from the top of the great pillar, I want you 
to climb up and to see and hear. For I am told that, 
far away, across many seas, is the great kingdom of the 
Island of Busan, and that the daughter of the king is the 
beautiful Princess Helena.' 

Off ran the second Simon and clambered quickly up 
the pillar. He gazed around, listened on all sides, and 
then slid down to report to the king. 

1 Sire, I have obeyed your orders. Far away I saw the 
Island of Busan. The king is a mighty monarch, but 
full of pride, harsh and cruel. He sits on his throne and 
declares that no prince or king on earth is good enough 
for his lovely daughter, that he will give her to none, and 


that if any king asks for her hand he will declare war 
against him and destroy his kingdom.' 

' Has the king of Busan a great army ? ' asked King 
Archidej ; ' is his country far off ? ' 

' As far as I could judge,' replied Simon, ' it would 
take you nearly ten years in fair weather to sail there. 
But if the weather were stormy we might say twelve. I 
saw the army being reviewed. It is not so very large — a 
hundred thousand men at arms and a hundred thousand 
knights. Besides these, he has a strong bodyguard and 
a good many cross-bowmen. Altogether you may say 
another hundred thousand, and there is a picked body of 
heroes who reserve themselves for great occasions requir- 
ing particular courage.' 

The king sat for some time lost in thought. At last 
he said to the nobles and courtiers standing round : ' I 
am determined to marry the Princess Helena, but how 
shall I do it ? ' 

The nobles, courtiers and counsellors said nothing, but 
tried to hide behind each other. Then the third Simon 
said : 

' Pardon me, your Majesty, if I offer my advice. You 
wish to go to the Island of Busan ? What can be easier ? 
In my ship you will get there in a week instead of in ten 
years. But ask your council to advise you what to do 
when you arrive — in one word, whether you will win the 
princess peacefully or by war ? ' 

But the wise men were as silent as ever. 

The king frowned, and was about to say something 
sharp, when the Court Fool pushed his way to the front 
and said : ' Dear me, what are all you clever people so 
puzzled about ? The matter is quite clear. As it seems 
it will not take long to reach the island why not send the 
seventh Simon? He will steal the fair maiden fast 
enough, and then the king, her father, may consider how he 
is going to bring his army over here — it will take him ten 
years to do it ! — no less ! What do you think of my plan ? ' 


' What do I think ? Why, that your idea is capital, 
and you shall be rewarded for it. Come, guards, hurry as 
fast as you can and bring the seventh Simon before me.' 

Not many minutes later, Simon the seventh stood 
before the king, who explained to him what he wished 
done, and also that to steal fpr the benefit of his king 
and country was by no means a wrong thing, though it 
was very wrong to steal for his own advantage. 

The youngest Simon, who looked very pale and hungry, 
only nodded his head. 

' Come,' said the king, ' tell me truly. Do you think 
you could steal the Princess Helena ? ' 

' Why should I not steal her sire ? The thing is easy 
enough. Let my brother's ship be laden with rich stuffs, 
brocades, Persian carpets, pearls and jewels. Send me 
in the ship. Give me my four middle brothers as com- 
panions, and keep the two others as hostages.' 

When the king heard these words his heart became 
filled with longing, and he ordered all to be done as 
Simon wished. Every one ran about to do his bidding ; 
and in next to no time the wonder-ship was laden and 
ready to start. 

The five Simons took leave of the king, went on 
board, and had no sooner set sail than they were almost 
out of sight. The ship cut through the waters like a 
falcon through the air, and just a week after starting 
sighted the Island of Busan. The coast appeared to be 
strongly guarded, and from afar the watchman on a high 
tower called out : ' Halt and anchor ! Who are you ? 
Where do you come from, and what do you want ? ' 

The seventh Simon answered from the ship : ' We are 
peaceful people. We come from the country of the great 
and good King Archidej, and we bring foreign wares — 
rich brocades, carpets, and costly jewels, which we wish 
to show to your king and the princess. We desire to 
trade — to sell, to buy, and to exchange.' 

The brothers launched a small boat, took some of their 


valuable goods with them, rowed to shore and went up to 
the palace. The princess sat in a rose-red room, and 
when she saw the brothers coming near she called her 
nurse and other women, and told them to inquire who 
and what these people were, and what they wanted. 

The seventh Simon answered the nurse : ' We come 
from the country of the wise and good King Archidej,' 
said he, ' and we have brought all sorts of goods for sale. 
We trust the king of this country may condescend to 
welcome us, and to let his servants take charge of our 
wares. If he considers them worthy to adorn his 
followers we shall be content.' 

This speech was repeated to the princess, who ordered 
the brothers to be brought to the red-room at once. They 
bowed respectfully to her and displayed some splendid 
velvets and brocades, and opened cases of pearls and 
precious stones. Such beautiful things had never been 
seen in the island, and the nurse and waiting women stood 
bewildered by all the magnificence. They whispered 
together that they had never beheld anything like it. 
The princess too saw and wondered, and her eyes could 
not weary of looking at the lovely things, or her fingers 
of stroking the rich soft stuffs, and of holding up the 
sparkling jewels to the light. 

1 Fairest of princesses,' said Simon. ' Be pleased to 
order your waiting-maids to accept the silks and velvets, 
and let your women trim their head-dresses with the 
jewels ; these are no special treasures. But permit me 
to say that they are as nothing to the many coloured 
tapestries, the gorgeous stones and ropes of pearls in our 
ship. We did not like to bring more with us, not know- 
ing what your royal taste might be ; but if it seems good 
to you to honour our ship with a visit, you might 
condescend to choose such things as were pleasing in 
your eyes.' 

This polite speech pleased the princess very much. 
She went to the king and said : ' Dear father, some 


merchants have arrived with the most splendid wares. 
Pray allow me to go to their ship and choose out what I 

The king thought and thought, frowned hard and 
rubbed his ear. At last he gave consent, and ordered out 
his royal yacht, with 100 cross-bows, 100 knights, and 
1,000 soldiers, to escort the Princess Helena. 

Off sailed the yacht with the princess and her escort. 
The brothers Simon came on board to conduct the 
princess to their ship, and, led by the brothers and 
followed by her nurse and other women, she crossed the 
crystal plank from one vessel to another. 

The seventh Simon spread out his goods, and had so 
many curious and interesting tales to tell about them, 
that the princess forgot everything else in looking and 
listening, so that she did not know that the fourth Simon 
had seized the prow of the ship, and that all of a sudden 
it had vanished from sight, and was racing along in the 
depths of the sea. 

The crew of the royal yacht shouted aloud, the 
knights stood still with terror, the soldiers were struck 
dumb and hung their heads. There was nothing to be 
done but to sail back and tell the king of his loss. 

How he wept and stormed ! ' Oh, light of my eyes,' 
he sobbed ; ' I am indeed punished for my pride. I 
thought no one good enough to be your husband, and now 
you are lost in the depths of the sea, and have left me 
alone ! As for all of you who saw this thing— away 
with you ! Let them be put in irons and lock them up in 
prison, whilst I think how I can best put them to death ! ' 

Whilst the King of Busan was raging and lamenting 
in this fashion, Simon's ship was swimming like any lish 
under the sea, and when the island was well out of sight 
he brought it up to the surface again. At that moment 
the princess recollected herself. ' Nurse,' said she, ' we 
have been gazing at these wonders only too long. I hope 
my father won't be vexed at our delay.' 

c. E 


She tore herself away and stepped on deck. Neither 
the yacht nor the island was in sight 1 Helena wrung 
her hands and beat her breast. Then she changed her- 
self into a white swan and flew off. But the fifth Simon 
seized his bow and shot the swan, and the sixth Simon 
did not let it fall into the water but caught it in the ship, 
and the swan turned into a silver fish, but Simon lost no 
time and caught the fish, when, quick as thought, the fish 
turned into a black mouse and ran about the ship. It 
darted krwards a hole, but before it could reach it Simon 
sprang upon it more swiftly than any cat, and then the 
little mouse turned once more into the beautiful Princess 

Early one morning King Archidej sat thoughtfully at 
his window 7 gazing out to sea. His heart was sad and he 
would neither eat nor drink. His thoughts were full of 
the Princess Helena, who was as lovely as a dream. Is 
that a w T hite gull he sees fiying towards the shore, or is it 
a sail ? No, it is no gull, it is the wonder-ship flying 
along with billowing sails. Its flags wave, the fiddlers 
play on the wire rigging, the anchor is thrown out and the 
crystal plank laid from the ship to the pier. The lovely 
Helena steps across the plank. She shines like the sun, 
and the stars of heaven seem to sparkle in her eyes. 

Up sprang King Archidej in haste : ' Hurry, hurry,' 
he cried. ' Let us hasten to meet her ! Let the bugles 
sound and the joy bells be rung ! ' 

And the whole Court swarmed with courtiers and 
servants. Golden carpets were laid down and the great 
gates thrown open to welcome the princess. 

King Archidej went out himself, took her by the hand 
and led her into the royal apartments. 

'Madam,' said he, "'the fame of your beauty had 
reached me, but I had not dared to expect such loveliness. 
Still I will not keep you here against your will. If you 
wish it, the wonder-ship shall take you back to your 
father and your own country ; but if you will consent to 

^>)e'louely\)tel€n<comes;^sVvoTe -i 
*" : ^^$^ 

E 2 '^cJ?? 


stay here, then reign over me and my country as our 

What more is there to tell ? It is not hard to guess 
that the princess listened to the king's wooing, and their 
betrothal took place with great pomp and rejoicings. 

The brothers Simon were sent again to the Island of 
Busan with a letter to the king from his daughter to 
invite him to their wedding. And the wonder-ship 
arrived at the Island of Busan just as all the knights and 
soldiers who had escorted the princess were being led out 
to execution. 

Then the seventh Simon cried out from the ship : 
1 Stop ! stop ! I bring a letter from the Princess 
Helena ! ' 

The King of Busan read the letter over and over again, 
and ordered the knights and soldiers to be set free. He 
entertained King Archidej's ambassadors hospitably, and 
sent his blessing to his daughter, but he could not be 
brought to attend the wedding. 

When the wonder-ship got home King Archidej and 
Princess Helena were enchanted with the news it brought. 

The king sent for the seven Simons. ' A thousand 
thanks to you, my brave fellows,' he cried. ' Take what 
gold, silver, and precious stones you will out of my 
treasury. Tell me if there is anything else you wish 
for and I will give it you, my good friends. Do you 
wish to be made nobles, or to govern towns ? Only 

Then the eldest Simon bowed and said : ' We are 
plain folk, your Majesty, and understand simple things 
best. W 7 hat figures should we cut as nobles or governors ? 
Nor do we desire gold. We have our fields which give us 
food, and as much money as we need. If you wish to 
reward us then grant that our land may be free of taxes, 
and of your goodness pardon the seventh Simon. He is 
not the first who has been a thief by trade . and he will 
certainly not be the last.' 


1 So be it,' said the king ; ' your land shall be free of 
all taxes, and Simon the seventh is pardoned.' 

Then the king gave each brother a goblet of wine and 
invited them to the wedding feast. And ivhat a feast that 
was ! 

[From Ungarischen Mcihrchen.'] 



Once upon a time a man had a shepherd who served him 
many years faithfully and honestly. One day, whilst 
herdiug his flock, this shepherd heard a hissing sound, 
coming out of the forest near by, which he could not 
account for. So he went into the wood in the direction of 
the noise to try to discover the cause. When he ap- 
proached the place he found that the dry grass and leaves 
were on fire, and on a tree, surrounded by flames, a snake 
was coiled, hissing with terror. 

The shepherd stood wondering how the poor snake 
could escape, for the wind was blowing the flames that 
way, and soon that tree would be burning like the rest. 
Suddenly the snake cried : ' shepherd ! for the love of 
heaven save me from this fire ! ' 

Then the shepherd stretched his staff out over the 
flames and the snake wound itself round the staff and up 
to his hand, and from his hand it crept up his arm, and 
twined itself about his neck. The shepherd trembled with 
fright, expecting every instant to be stung to death, and 
said : ' What an unlucky man I am ! Did I rescue you 
only to be destroyed myself ? ' But the snake answered : 
' Have no fear ; only carry me home to my father who is the 
King of the Snakes.' The shepherd, however, was much 
too frightened to listen, and said that he could not go away 
and leave his flock alone ; but the snake said : ' You need 
not be afraid to leave your nock, no evil shall befall them ; 
but make all the haste you can.' 

So he set off through the wood carrying the snake, and 
after a time he came to a great gateway, made entirely 


of snakes intertwined one with another. The shepherd 
stood still with surprise, but the snake round his neck 
whistled, and immediately all the arch unwound itself. 

' When we are come to my father's house,' said his 
own snake to him, ' he will reward you with anything you 
like to ask — silver, gold, jewels, or whatever on this earth 
is most precious ; but take none of all these things, ask 
rather to understand the language of beasts. He will 
refuse it to you a long time, but in the end he will grant 
it to you.' 

Soon after that they arrived at the house of the King of 
the Snakes, who burst into tears of joy at the sight of his 
daughter, as he had given her up for dead. ' Where have 
you been all this time ? ' he asked, directly he could speak, 
and she told him that she had been caught in a forest fire, 
and had been rescued from the flames by the shepherd. 
The King of the Snakes, then turning to the shepherd, 
said to him : ' What reward will you choose for saving my 
child ? ' 

' Make me to know the language of beasts,' answered 
the shepherd, 'that is all I desire,' 

The king replied : ' Such knowledge would be of no 
benefit to you, for if I granted it to you and you told any 
one of it, you would immediately die ; ask me rather for 
whatever else you would most like to possess, and it shall 
be yours.' 

But the shepherd answered him : ' Sir, if you wish to 
reward me for saving your daughter, grant me, I pray 
you, to know the language of beasts. I desire nothing 
else ' ; and he turned as if to depart. 

Then the king called him back, saying : ' If nothing 
else will satisfy you, open your mouth.' The man obeyed, 
and the king spat into it, and said : ' Now spit into my 
mouth.' The shepherd did as he was told, then the King 
of the Snakes spat again into the shepherd's mouth. 
When they had spat into each other's mouths three times, 
the king said; 


' Now you know the language of beasts, go in peace ; 
but, if you value your life, beware lest you tell any one of 
it, else you will immediately die.' 

So the shepherd set out for home, and on his way 
through the wood he heard and understood all that was 
said by the birds, and by every living creature. When 
he got back to his sheep he found the flock grazing peace- 
fully, and as he was very tired he laid himself down by 
them to rest a little. Hardly had he done so when two 
ravens flew down and perched on a tree near by, and 
began to talk to each other in their own language: 'If 
that shepherd only knew that there is a vault full of gold 
and silver beneath where that lamb is lying, what would 
he not do ? ' When the shepherd heard these words he 
went straight to his master and told him, and the master 
at once took a waggon, and broke open the door of the 
vault, and they carried off the treasure. But instead of 
keeping it for himself, the master, who was an honour- 
able man, gave it all up to the shepherd, saying : ' Take 
it, it is yours. The gods have given it to you.' So 
the shepherd took the treasure and built himself a 
house. He married a wife, and they lived in great peace 
and happiness, and he was acknowledged to be the 
richest man, not only of his native village, but of all the 
ccuntry-side. He had flocks of sheep, and cattle, and 
horses without end, as well as beautiful clothes and 

One day, just before Christmas, he said to his wife : 
' Prepare everything for a great feast, to-morrow we will 
take things with us to the farm that the shepherds there 
may make merry.' The wife obeyed, and all was prepared 
as he desired. Next day they both went to the farm, and 
in the evening the master said to the shepherds : ' Now 
come, all of you, eat, drink, and make merry. I will watch 
the flocks myself to-night in your stead.' Then he went 
out to spend the night with the flocks. 

When midnight struck the wolves howled and the 


dogs barked, and the wolves spoke in their own tongue, 
saying : 

' Shall we come in and work havoc, and you too shall 
eat flesh ? ' And the dogs answered in their tongue : 
' Come in, and for once we shall have enough to eat.' 

Now amongst the dogs there was one so old that he 
had only two teeth left in his head, and he spoke to the 
wolves, saying : ' So long as I have my two teeth still in 
my head, I will let no harm be done to my master.' 

All this the master heard and understood, and as soon 
as morning dawned he ordered all the dogs to be killed 
excepting the old dog. The farm servants wondered at 
this order, and exclaimed : ' But surely, sir, that would 
be a pity ? ' 

The master answered : ' Do as I bid you ' ; and made 
ready to return home with his wife, and they mounted 
their horses, her steed being a mare. As they went on 
their way, it happened that the husband rode on ahead, 
while the wife was a little way behind. The husband's 
horse, seeing this, neighed, and said to the mare : ' Come 
along, make haste ; w T hy are you so slow ? ' And the mare 
answered : ' It is very easy for you, you carry only your 
master, who is a thin man, but I carry my mistress, who 
is so fat that she weighs as much as three.' When the 
husband heard that he looked back and laughed, which 
the wife perceiving, she urged on the mare till she caught 
up with her husband, and asked him why he laughed. 
'For nothing at all,' he answered; 'just because it came 
into my head.' She would not be satisfied with this 
answer, and urged him more and more to tell her why he 
had laughed. But he controlled himself and said : ' Let 
me be, wife ; what ails you ? I do not know myself why 
I laughed.' But the more he put her off, the more she 
tormented him to tell her the cause of his laughter. At 
length he said to her : ' Know, then, that if I tell it you I 
shall immediately and surely die.' But even this did not 
quiet her ; she only besought him the more to tell her. 


Meanwhile they had reached home, and before getting 
down from his horse the man called for a coffin to be 
brought ; and when it was there he placed it in front of 
the house, and said to his wife : 

' See, I will lay myself down in this coffin, and will 
then tell you why I laughed, for as soon as I have told 
you I shall surely die.' So he lay down in the coffin, 
and while he took a last look around him, his old dog 
came out from the farm and sat down by him, and 
whined. When the master saw this, he called to his 
wife : * Bring a piece of bread to give to the dog.' The 
wife brought some bread and threw it to the dog, but he 
would not look at it. Then the farm cock came and 
pecked at the bread ; but the dog said to it : ' Wretched 
glutton, you can eat like that when you see that your master 
is dying ? ' The cock answered : ' Let him die, if he is 
so stupid. I have a hundred wives, which I call together 
when I find a grain of corn, and as soon as they are 
there I swallow it myself ; should one of them dare to be 
angry, I would give her a lesson with my beak. He has 
only one wife, and he cannot keep her in order.' 

As soon as the man understood this, he got up out of 
the coffin, seized a stick, and called his wife into the 
room, saying : ' Come, and I will tell you what you so much 
want to know ' ; and then he began to beat her with the 
stick, saying with each blow : ' It is that, wife, it is that ! ' 
And in this way he taught her never again to ask why 
he had laughed. 



Once upon a time there lived a poor widow who had one 
little boy. At first sight you would not have thought that 
he was different from a thousand other little boys ; but 
then you noticed that by his side hung the scabbard of a 
sword, and as the boy grew bigger the scabbard grew 
bigger too. The sword which belonged to the scabbard 
was found by the little boy sticking out of the ground in 
the garden, and every day he pulled it up to see if it 
would go into the scabbard. But though it was plainly 
becoming longer and longer, it was some time before the 
two would fit. 

However, there came a day at last when it slipped in 
quite easily. The child was so delighted that he could 
hardly believe his eyes, so he tried it seven times, and 
each time it slipped in more easily than before. But 
pleased though the boy was, he determined not to tell 
anyone about it, particularly not his mother, who never 
could keep anything from her neighbours. 

Still, in spite of his resolutions, he could not hide 
altogether that something had happened, and when he 
went in to breakfast his mother asked him what was the 

' Oh, mother, I had such a nice dream last night,' 
said he ; ' but I can't tell it to anybody.' 

1 You can tell it to me,' she answered. ' It must have 
been a nice dream, or you wouldn't look so happy.' 

' No, mother ; I can't tell it to anybody,' returned the 
boy, ' till it comes true.' 


1 1 want to know what it was, and know it I will,' 
cried she, ' and I will beat you till you tell me/ 

But it was no use, neither words nor blows would get 
the secret out of the boy ; and when her arm was quite 
tired and she had to leave off, the child, sore and aching, 
ran into the garden and knelt weeping beside his little 
sword. It was working round and round in its hole all 
by itself, and if anyone except the boy had tried to catch 
hold of it, he would have been badly cut. But the 
moment he stretched out his hand it stopped and slid 
quietly into the scabbard. 

For a long time the child sat sobbing, and the noise 
was heard by the king as he was driving by. ' Go and see 
who it is that is crying so,' said he to one of his servants, 
and the man went. In a few minutes he returned saying : 
1 Your Majesty, it is a little boy who is kneeling there 
sobbing because his mother has Beaten him.' 

1 Bring him to me at once,' commanded the monarch, 
' and tell him that it is the king who sends for him, and 
that he has never cried in all his life and cannot bear 
anyone else to do so.' On receiving this message the boy 
dried his tears and went with the servant to the royal 
carriage. ' Will you be my son ? ' asked the king. 

* Yes, if my mother will let me,' answered the boy. 
And the king bade the servant go back to the mother and 
say that if she would give her boy to him, he should live 
in the palace and marry his prettiest daughter as soon as 
he was a man. 

The widow's anger now turned into joy, and she came 
running to the splendid coach and kissed the king's 
hand. * I hope you will be more obedient to his Majesty 
than you were to me,' she said ; and the boy shrank away 
half -frightened. But when she had gone back to her 
cottage, he asked the king if he might fetch something 
that he had left in the garden, and when he was given 
permission, he pulled up his little sword, which he slid 
into the scabbard. 


Then he climbed into the coach and was driven away. 

After they had gone some distance the king said : 
1 Why were you crying so bitterly in the garden just 
now ? ' 

' Because my mother had been beating me,' replied 
the boy. 

' And what did she do that for ? ' asked the king 

'Because I would not tell her my dream.' 

' And why wouldn't you tell it to her ? ' 

1 Because I will never tell it to anyone till it comes 
true,' answered the boy. 

' And won't you tell it to me either ? ' asked the king 
in surprise. 

' No, not even to you, your Majesty,' replied he. 

' Oh, I am sure you will when we get home,' said the 
king smiling, and he talked to him about other things till 
they came to the palace. 

' I have brought you such a nice present,' he said to 
his daughters, and as the boy was very pretty they were 
delighted to have him and gave him all their best toys. 

'You must not spoil him,' observed the king one day, 
when he had been watching them playing together. He 
has a secret which he won't tell to anyone.' 

'He will tell me,' answered the eldest princess; but 
the boy only shook his head. 

' He will tell me,' said the second girl. <* 

'Not I,' replied the boy. 

'He will tell me,' cried the youngest, who was the 
prettiest too. 

' I will tell nobody till it comes true,' said the boy, as 
he had said before ; ' and I will beat anybody who asks 

The king was very sorry when he heard this, for he 
loved the boy dearly ; but he thought it would never do to 
keep anyone near him who would not do as he was bid. 
So he commanded his servants to take him away, and not 


to let him enter the palace again until he had come to his 
right senses. 

The sword clanked loudly as the boy was led away, 
but the child said nothing, though he was very unhappy 
at being treated so badly when he had done nothing. 
However, the servants were very kind to him, and their 
children brought him fruit and all sorts of nice things, 
and he soon grew merry again, and lived amongst them 
for many years till his seventeenth birthday. 

Meanwhile the two eldest princesses had become 
women, and had married two powerful kings who ruled 
over great countries across the sea. The youngest one 
was old enough to be married too, but she was very 
particular, and turned up her nose at all the young princes 
who had sought her hand. 

One day she was sitting in the palace feeling rather 
dull and lonely, and suddenly she began to wonder what 
the servants were doing, and whether it was not more 
amusing down in their quarters. The king was at his 
council and the queen was ill in bed, so there was no one 
to stop the princess, and she hastily ran across the 
gardens to the houses where the servants lived. Outside 
she noticed a youth who was handsomer than any prince 
she had ever seen, and in a moment she knew him to be 
the little boy she had once played with, 

1 Tell me your secret and I will marry you,' she said 
to him ; lyit the boy only gave her the beating he had 
promised her long ago, when she asked him the same 
question. The girl was very angry, besides being hurt, 
and ran home to complain to her father. 

1 If he had a thousand souls, I would kill them all,' 
Swore the king. 

That very day a gallows was built outside the town, 
and all the people crowded round to see the execution of 
the young man who had dared to beat the king's daughter. 
The prisoner, with his hands tied behind his back, was 
brought out by the hangman, and amidst dead silence his 

C. F 


sentence was being read by the judge when suddenly the 
sword clanked against his side. Instantly a great noise 
was heard and a golden coach rumbled over the stones, 
with a white flag waving out of the window. It stopped 
underneath the gallows, and from it stepped the . king of 
the Magyars, who begged that the life of the boy might be 

' Sir, he has beaten my daughter, who only asked 
him to tell her his secret. I cannot pardon that,' answered 
the princess's father. 

1 Give him to me, I'm sure he will tell me the secret ; 
or, if not, I have a daughter who is like the Morning Star, 
and he is sure to tell it to her.' 

The sword clanked for the third time, and the king 
said angrily : ' Well, if you want him so much you can 
have him ; only never let me see his face again.' And he 
made a sign to the hangman. The bandage was removed 
from the young man's eyes, and the cords from his wrists, 
and he took his seat in the golden coach beside the king 
of the Magyars. Then the coachman whipped up his 
horses, and they set out for Buda. 

The king talked very pleasantly for a few miles, and 
when he thought that his new companion was quite at 
ease with him, he asked him what was the secret which 
had brought him into such trouble. ' That I cannot tell 
you,' answered the youth, ' until it comes true.' 

I You will tell my daughter,' said the king, smiling. 

I I will tell nobody,' replied the youth, and as he spoke 
the sword clanked loudly. The king said no more, but 
trusted to his daughter's beauty to get the secret from him. 

The journey to Buda was long, and it was several 
days before they arrived there. The beautiful princess 
happened to be picking roses in the garden, when her 
father's coach drove up. 

1 Oh, what a handsome youth ! Have you brought 
him from fairyland ? ' cried she, when they all stood upon 
the marble steps in front of the castle. 



1 1 have brought him from the gallows,' answered the 
king ; rather vexed at his daughter's words, as never 
before had she consented to speak to any man. 

' I don't care where you brought him from,' said the 
spoilt girl. ' I will marry him and nobody else, and we 
will live together till we die.' 

1 You will tell another tale,' replied the king, ' when 
you ask him his secret. After all he is no better than a 

' That is nothing to me/ said the princess, ' for I love 
him. He will tell his secret to me, and will find a place 
in the middle of my heart.' 

But the king shook his head, and gave orders that the 
lad was to be lodged in the summer-house. 

One day, about a week later, the princess put on her 
finest dress, and went to pay him a visit. She looked so 
beautiful that, at the sight of her, the book dropped from 
his hand, and he stood up speechless. ' Tell me,' she 
said, coaxingly, ' what is this wonderful secret ? Just 
whisper it in my ear, and I will give you a kiss.' 

1 My angel,' he answered, ' be wise, and ask no 
questions, if you wish to get safely back to your father's 
palace ; I have kept my secret all these years, and do not 
mean to tell it now.' 

However, the girl would not listen, and went on 
pressing him, till at last he slapped her face so hard that 
her nose bled. She shrieked with pain and rage, and 
ran screaming back to the palace, where her father was 
waiting to hear if she had succeeded. ' I will starve you 
to death, you son of a dragon,' cried he, when he saw her 
dress streaming with blood ; and he ordered all the masons 
and bricklayers in the town to come before him. 

' Build me a tower as fast as you can,' he said, ' and 
see that there is room for a stool and a small table, and 
for nothing else. The men set to work, and in two hours 
the tower was built, and they proceeded to the palace to 
inform the king that his commands were fulfilled. On 


the way they met the princess, who began to talk to one 
of the masons, and when the rest were out of hearing she 
asked if he could manage to make a hole in the tower, 
which nobody could see, large enough for a bottle of wine 
and some food to pass through. 

' To be sure I can/ said the mason, turning back, and 
in a few minutes the hole was bored. 

At sunset a large crowd assembled to watch the youth 
being led to the tower, and after his misdeeds had been 
proclaimed he was solemnly walled up. But every 
morning the princess passed him in food through the 
hole, and every third day the king sent his secretary to 
climb up a ladder and look down through a little window 
to see if he was dead. But the secretary always brought 
back the report that he was fat and rosy. 

' There is some magic about this,' said the king. 

This state of affairs lasted some time, till one day a 
messenger arrived from the Sultan bearing a letter for the 
king, and also three canes. ' My master bids me say,' said 
the messenger, bowing low, ' that if you cannot tell him 
which of these three canes grows nearest the root, which 
in the middle, and which at the top, he will declare war 
against you/ 

The king was very much frightened when he heard 
this, and though he took the canes and examined them 
closely, he could see no difference between them. He 
looked so sad that his daughter noticed it, and inquired 
the reason. 

'Alas! my daughter,' he answered, 'how can I help 
being sad ? The Sultan has sent me three canes, and 
says that if I cannot tell him which of them grows near 
the root, which in the middle, and which at the top, he 
will make war upon me. And you know that his army is 
far greater than mine.' 

1 Oh, do not despair, my father,' said she. ' We shall 
be sure to find out the answer ' ; and she ran away to the 
tower, and told the young man what had occurred. 

HJfORp / I 



1 Go to bed as usual,' replied he, ' and when you wake, 
tell your father that you have dreamed that the canes 
must be placed in warm water. After a little while one 
will sink to the bottom ; that is the one that grows nearest 
the root. The one which neither sinks nor comes to the 
surface is the cane that is cut from the middle ; and the 
one that floats is from the top.' 

So, the next morning, the princess told her father of 
her dream, and by her advice he cut notches in each of 
the canes when he took them out of the water, so that he 
might make no mistake when he handed them back to 
the messenger. The Sultan could not imagine how he 
had found out, but he did not declare war. 

The following year the Sultan again wanted to pick a 
quarrel with the king of the Magyars, so he sent another 
messenger to him with three foals, begging him to say 
which of the animals was born in the morning, which at 
noon, and which in the evening. If an answer was not 
ready in three days, war would be declared at once. The 
king's heart sank when he read the letter. He could not 
expect his daughter to be lucky enough to dream rightly 
a second time, and as a plague had been raging through 
the country, and had carried off many of his soldiers, his 
army was even weaker than before. At this thought his 
face became so gloomy that his daughter noticed it, and 
inquired what was the matter, 

' I have had another letter from the Sultan,' replied 
the king, ' and he says that if I cannot tell him which of 
three foals was born in the morning, which at noon, and 
which in the evening, he will declare war at once.' 

1 Oh, don't be cast down,' said she, ' something is sure 
to happen ' ; and she ran down to the tower to consult the 

' Go home, idol of my heart, and when night comes, 
pretend to scream out in your sleep, so that your father 
hears you. Then tell him that you have dreamt that he 
was just being carried off by the Turks because he could 


not answer the question about the foals, when the lad 
whom he had shut up in the tower ran up and told them 
which was foaled in the morning, which at noon, and 
which in the evening.' 

So the princess did exactly as the youth had bidden 
her ; and no sooner had she spoken than the king ordered 
the tower to be pulled down, and the prisoner brought 
before him. 

' I did not think that you could have lived so long 
without food,' said he, ' and as you have had plenty of 
time to repent your wicked conduct, I will grant you 
pardon, on condition that you help me in a sore strait. 
Bead this letter from the Sultan ; you will see that if I 
fail to answer his question about the foals, a dreadful war 
will be the result.' 

The youth took the letter and read it through. ' Yes, 
I can help you,' replied he ; ' but first you must bring me 
three troughs, all exactly alike. Into one you must put 
oats, into another wheat, and into the third barley. The 
foal which eats the oats is that which was foaled in the 
morning ; the foal which eats the wheat is that which 
was foaled at noon ; and the foal which eats the barley is 
that which was foaled at night.' The king followed the 
youth's directions, and, marking the foals, sent them back 
to Turkey, and there was no war that year. 

Now the Sultan was very angry that both his plots to 
get possession of Hungary had been such total failures, 
and he sent for his aunt, who was a witch, to consult her 
as to what he should do next. 

1 It is not the king who has answered your questions,' 
observed the aunt, when he had told his story. ' He is 
far too stupid ever to have done that ! The person who 
has found out the puzzle is the son of a poor woman, 
who, if he lives, will become King of Hungary. Therefore, 
if you want the crown yourself, you must get him here 
and kill him.' 

After this conversation another letter was written to 


the Court of Hungary, saying that if the youth, now in the 
palace, was not sent to Turkey within three days, a large 
army would cross the border. The king's heart was 
sorrowful as he read, for he was grateful to the lad for 
what he had done to help him ; but the boy only laughed, 
and bade the king fear nothing, but to search the town 
instantly for two youths just like each other, and he 
would paint himself a mask that was just like them. And 
the sword at his side clanked loudly. 

After a long search twin brothers were found, so 
exactly resembling each other that even their own mother 
could not tell the difference. The youth painted a mask 
that was the precise copy of them, and when he had put 
it on, no one would have known one boy from the other. 
They set out at once for the Sultan's palace, and when 
they reached it, they were taken straight into his 
presence. He made a sign for them to come near ; they 
all bowed low in greeting. He asked them about their 
journey ; they answered his questions all together, and in 
the same words. If one sat down to supper, the others 
sat down at the same instant. When one got up, the 
others got up too, as if there had been only one body 
between them. The Sultan could not detect any 
difference between them, and he told his aunt that he 
would not be so cruel as to kill all three. 

' Well, you will see a difference to-morrow,' replied 
the witch, ' for one will have a cut on his sleeve. That 
is the youth you must kill.' And one hour before mid- 
night, when witches are invisible, she glided into the 
room where all three lads were sleeping in the same bed. 
She took out a pair of scissors and cut a small piece out 
of the boy's coat-sleeve which was hanging on the wall, 
and then crept silently from the room. But in the 
morning the youth saw the slit, and he marked the 
sleeves of his two companions in the same way, and all 
three went down to breakfast with the Sultan. The old 
witch was standing in the window and pretended not to 


see them ; but all witches have eyes in the backs of their 
heads, and she knew at once that not one sleeve but 
three were cut, and they were all as alike as before. After 
breakfast, the Sultan, who was getting tired of the whole 
affair and wanted to be alone to invent some other plan, 
told them they might return home. So, bowing low with 
one accord, they went. 

The princess welcomed the boy back joyfully, but the 
poor youth was not allowed to rest long in peace, for one 
day a fresh letter arrived from the Sultan, saying that he 
had discovered that the young man was a very dangerous 
person, and that he must be sent to Turkey at once, and 
alone. The girl burst into tears when the boy told her 
what was in the letter which her father had bade her to 
carry to him. ' Do not weep, love of my heart,' said the 
boy, ' all will be well. I will start at sunrise to-morrow/ 

So next morning at sunrise the youth set forth, and 
in a few days he reached the Sultan's palace. The old 
witch was waiting for him at the gate, and whispered 
as he passed : * This is the last time you will ever enter it.' 
But the sword clanked, and the lad did not even look at 
her. As he crossed the threshold fifteen armed Turks 
barred his way, with the Sultan at their head. Instantly 
the sword darted forth and cut off the heads of everyone 
but the Sultan, and then went quietly back to its 
scabbard. The witch, who was looking on, saw that as 
long as the youth had possession of the sword, all her 
schemes would be in vain, and tried to steal the sword in 
the night, but it only jumped out of its scabbard and 
sliced off her nose, which was of iron. And in the morn- 
ing, when the Sultan brought a great army to capture the 
lad and deprive him of his sword, they were all cut to 
pieces, while he remained without a scratch. 

Meanwhile the princess was in despair because the 
days slipped by, and the young man did not return, and 
she never rested until her father let her lead some troops 
against the Sultan. She rode proudly before them, dressed 


in uniform ; but they had not left the town more than a 
mile behind them, when they met the lad and his little 
sword. When he told them what he had done they 
shouted for joy, and carried him back in triumph to the 
palace ; and the king declared that as the youth had 
shown himself worthy to become his son-in-law, he 
should marry the princess and succeed to the throne at 
once, as he himself was getting old, and the cares of 
government were too much for him. But the young man 
said he must first go and see his mother, and the king sent 
him in state, with a troop of soldiers as his bodyguard. 

The old woman was quite frightened at seeing such 
an array draw up before her little house, and still more 
surprised when a handsome young man, whom she did 
not know, dismounted and kissed her hand, saying : ' Now, 
dear mother, you shall hear my secret at last ! I dreamed 
that I should become King of Hungary, and my dream 
has come true. When I was a child, and you begged me 
to tell you, I had to keep silence, or the Magyar king 
would have killed me. And if you had not beaten me 
nothing would have happened that has happened, and I 
should not now be King of Hungary.' 

[From the Folk Tales of the Magyars.'] 



Once upon a time there lived an emperor who had three 
sons. They were all fine young men, and fond of hunt- 
ing, and scarcely a day passed without one or other of 
them going out to look for game. 

One morning the eldest of the three princes mounted 
his horse and set out for a neighbouring forest, where 
wild animals of all sorts were to be found. He had 
not long left the castle, when a hare sprang out of a 
thicket and dashed across the road in front. The young 
man gave chase at once, and pursued it over hill and 
dale, till at last the hare took refuge in a mill which was 
standing by the side of a river. The prince followed and 
entered the mill, but stopped in terror by the door, for, 
instead of a hare, before him stood a dragon, breathing 
fire and flame. At this fearful sight the prince turned to 
fly, but a fiery tongue coiled round his waist, and drew 
him into the dragon's mouth, and he was seen no more. 

A week passed away, and when the prince never came 
back everyone in the town began to grow uneasy. At 
last his next brother told the emperor that he likewise 
would go out to hunt, and that perhaps he would find 
some clue as to his 'brother's disappearance. But hardly 
had the castle gates closed on the prince than the hare 
sprang out of the bushes as before, and led the huntsman up 
hill and down dale, till they reached the mill. Into this 
the hare flew with the prince at his heels, when, lo ! instead 
of the hare, there stood a dragon breathing fire and flame ; 
and out shot a fiery tongue which coiled round the prince's 

HiF-oM>, 9<> i. 

yp\o tre: dragon caught the prlimcl 



waist, and lifted him straight into the dragon's mouth, 
and he was seen no more. 

Days went by, and the emperor waited and waited for 
the sons who never came, and could not sleep at night for 
wondering where they were and what had become of them. 
His youngest son wished to go in search of his brothers, 
but for long the emperor refused to listen to him, lest 
he should lose him also. But the prince prayed so hard 
for leave to make the search, and promised so often that 
he would be very cautious and careful, that at length the 
emperor gave him permission, and ordered the best horse 
in the stables to be saddled for him. 

Full of hope the young prince started on his way, but 
no sooner was he outside the city walls than a hare sprang 
out of the bushes and ran before him, till they reached 
the mill. As before, the animal dashed in through the 
open door, but this time he was not followed by the 
prince. Wiser than his brothers, the young man turned 
away, saying to himself : ' There are as good hares in the 
forest as any that have come out of it, and when I have 
caught them, I can come back and look for you.' 

For many hours he rode up and down the mountain, 
but saw nothing, and at last, tired of waiting, he went back 
to the mill. Here he found an old woman sitting, whom 
he greeted pleasantly. 

' Good morning to you, little mother,' he said ; and the 
old woman answered : ' Good morning, my son.' 

1 Tell me, little mother,' went on the prince, ' where 
shall I find my hare ? ' 

' My son/ replied the old woman, ' that was no hare, 
but a dragon who has led many men hither, and then has 
eaten them all/ At these words the prince's heart grew 
heavy, and he cried, ' Then my brothers must have come 
here, and have been eaten by the dragon ! ' 

' You have guessed right,' answered the old woman ; 
' and I can give you no better counsel than to go home 
at once, before the same fate overtakes you.' 

G 2 


1 Will you not come with me out of this dreadful 
place ? ' said the young man. 

' He took me prisoner, too,' answered she, ' and I 
cannot shake off his chains.' 

' Then listen to me,' cried the prince. ' When the 
dragon comes back, ask him where he always goes when 
he leaves here, and what makes him so strong ; and when 
you have coaxed the secret from him, tell me the next 
time I come.' 

So the prince went home, and the old woman re- 
mained in the mill, and as soon as the dragon returned 
she said to him : 

1 Where have you been all this time — you must have 
travelled far ? ' 

' Yes, little mother, I have indeed travelled far,' 
answered he. Then the old woman began to flatter him, 
and to praise his cleverness ; and when she thought she 
had got him into a good temper, she said : ' I have 
wondered so often where you get your strength from ; I 
do wish you would tell me. I would stoop and kiss the 
place out of pure love ! ' The dragon laughed at this, and 
answered : 

1 In the hearthstone yonder lies the secret of my 

Then the old woman jumped up and kissed the hearth ; 
whereat the dragon laughed the more, and said : 

' You foolish creature ! I was only jesting. It is not* in 
the hearthstone, but in that tall tree that lies the secret 
of my strength.' Then the old woman jumped up again 
and put her arms round the tree, and kissed it heartily. 
Loudly laughed the dragon when he saw what she was 

1 Old fool,' he cried, as soon as he could speak, ' did 
you really believe that my strength came from that tree ? ' 

'W T here is it then?' asked the old woman, rather 
crossly, for she did not like being made fun of. 

' My strength,' replied the dragon, ' lies far away ; 


so far that you could never reach it. Far, far from here 
is a kingdom, and by its capital city is a lake, and in the 
lake is a dragon, and inside the dragon is a wild boar, and 
inside the wild boar is a pigeon, and inside the pigeon a 
sparrow, and inside the sparrow is my strength.' And 
when the old woman heard this, she thought it was no 
use flattering him any longer, for never, never, could she 
take his strength from him. 

The following morning, when the dragon had left the 
mill, the prince came back, and the old woman told him 
all that the creature had said. He listened in silence, and 
then returned to the castle, where he put on a suit of 
shepherd's clothes, and taking a staff in his hand, he went 
forth to seek a place as tender of sheep. 

For some time he wandered from village to village 
and from town to town, till he came at length to a large 
city in a distant kingdom, surrounded on three sides by a 
great lake, which happened to be the very lake in which 
the dragon lived. As was his custom, he stopped every- 
body whom he met in the streets that looked likely to 
want a shepherd and begged them to engage him, but 
they all seemed to have shepherds of their own, or else 
not to need any. The prince was beginning to lose 
heart, when a man who had overheard his question 
turned round and said that he had better go and ask the 
emperor, as he was in search of some one to see after his 

' Will you take care of my sheep ? ' said the emperor, 
when the young man knelt before him. 

' Most willingly, your Majesty,' answered the young 
man, and he listened obediently while the emperor told 
him what he was to do. 

1 Outside the city walls,' went on the emperor, ' you 
will find a large lake, and by its banks lie the richest 
meadows in my kingdom. When you are leading out 
your flocks to pasture, they will all run straight to these 
meadows, and none that have gone there have ever been 


known to come back. Take heed, therefore, my son, not 
to suffer your sheep to go where they will, but drive them 
to any spot that you think best.' 

With a low bow the prince thanked the emperor for 
his warning, and promised to do his best to keep the 
sheep safe. Then he left the palace and went to the 
market-place, where he bought two greyhounds, a hawk, 
and a set of pipes ; after that he took the sheep out to 
pasture. The instant the animals caught sight of the 
lake lying before them, they trotted off as fast as their 
legs would go to the green meadows lying round it. The 
prince did not try to stop them ; he only placed his hawk 
on the branch of a tree, laid his pipes on the grass, and 
bade the greyhounds sit still ; then, rolling up his sleeves 
and trousers, he waded into the water crying as he did so : 
' Dragon ! dragon ! if you are not a coward, come out and 
fight with me ! ' And a voice answered from the depths 
of the lake : 

' I am waiting for you, prince ' ; and the next minute 
the dragon reared himself out of the water, huge and 
horrible to see. The prince sprang upon him and they 
grappled with each other and fought together till the sun 
was high, and it was noonday. Then the dragon gasped : 

* prince, let me dip my burning head once into the 
lake, and I will hurl you up to the top of the sky.' But 
the prince answered, ' Oh, ho ! my good dragon, do not 
crow too soon ! If the emperor's daughter were only here, 
and would kiss me on the forehead, I would throw you 
up higher still ! ' And suddenly the dragon's hold 
loosened, and he fell back into the lake. 

As soon as it was evening, the prince washed away 
all signs of the fight, took his hawk upon his shoulder, 
and his pipes under his arm, and with his greyhounds in 
front and his flock following after him he set out for the 
city. As they all passed through the streets the people 
stared in wonder, for never before had any flock returned 
from the lake. 


The next morning he rose early, and led his sheep 
down the road to the lake. This time, however, the 
emperor sent two men on horseback to ride behind him, 
with orders to watch the prince all day long. The 
horsemen kept the prince and his sheep in sight, without 
being seen themselves. As soon as they beheld the sheep 
running towards the meadows, they turned aside up a 
steep hill, which overhung the lake. When the shepherd 
reached the place he laid, as before, his pipes on the grass 
and bade the greyhounds sit beside them, while the hawk 
he perched on the branch of the tree. Then he rolled up 
his trousers and his sleeves, and waded into the water 
crying : 

' Dragon ! dragon ! if you are not a coward, come out 
and fight with me ! ' And the dragon answered : 

1 1 am waiting for you, O prince/ and the next minute 
he reared himself out of the water, huge and horrible to 
see. Again they clasped each other tight round the body 
and fought till it was noon, and when the sun was at its 
hottest, the dragon gasped : 

' prince, let me dip my burning head once in the 
lake, and I will hurl you up to the top of the sky.' But 
the prince answered : 

' Oh, ho ! my good dragon, do not crow too soon ! 
If the emperor's daughter were only here, and would 
kiss me on the forehead, I would throw you up higher 
still ! ' And suddenly the dragon's hold loosened, and he 
fell back into the lake. 

As soon as it was evening the prince again collected 
his sheep, and playing on his pipes he marched before 
them into the city. When he passed through the gates 
all the people came out of their houses to stare in wonder, 
for never before had any flock returned from the lake. 

Meanwhile the two horsemen had ridden quickly 
back, and told the emperor all that they had seen and 
heard. The emperor listened eagerly to their tale, then 
called his daughter to him and repeated it to her. 


1 To-morrow,' he said, when he had finished, ' you shall 
go with the shepherd to the lake, and then you shall kiss 
him on the forehead as he wishes.' 

But when the princess heard these words, she burst 
into tears, and sobbed out : 

' Will you really send me, your only child, to that 
dreadful place, from which most likely I shall never come 

1 Fear nothing, my little daughter, all will be well. 
Many shepherds have gone to that lake and none have 
ever returned ; but this one has in these two days fought 
twice with the dragon and has escaped without a wound. 
So I hope to-morrow he will kill the dragon altogether, 
and deliver this land from the monster who has slain 
so many of our bravest men.' 

Scarcely had the sun begun to peep over the hills 
next morning, when the princess stood by the shepherd's 
side, ready to go to the lake. The shepherd was brim- 
ming over with joy, but the princess only wept bitterly. 
1 Dry your tears, I implore you,' said he. ' If you will 
just do what I ask you, and when the time comes, run 
and kiss my forehead, you have nothing to fear.' 

Merrily the shepherd blew on his pipes as he marched 
at the head of his flock, only stopping every now and 
then to say to the weeping girl at his side : 

' Do not cry so, Heart of Gold ; trust me and fear 
nothing.' And so they reached the lake. 

In an instant the sheep were scattered all over the 
meadows, and the prince placed his hawk on the tree, 
and his pipes on the grass, while he bade his greyhounds 
licbeside them. Then he rolled up his trousers and his 
sleeves, and waded into the water, calling : 

' Dragon ! dragon ! if you are not a coward, come 
forth, and let us have one more fight together.' And the 
dragon answered : ' I am waiting for you, O prince ' ; 
and the next minute he reared himself out of the water, 
huge and horrible to see. Swiftly he drew near to the 


bank, and the prince sprang to meet him, and they grasped 
each other round the body and fought till it was noon. 
And when the sun was at its hottest, the dragon cried : 

' O prince, let me dip my burning head in the lake, 
and I will hurl you to the top of the sky.' But the 
prince answered : 

' Oh, ho ! my good dragon, do not crow too soon ! If 
the emperor's daughter were only here, and she would 
kiss my forehead, I would throw you higher still.' 

Hardly had he spoken, when the princess, who had 
been listening, ran up and kissed him on the forehead. 
Then the prince swung the dragon straight up into the 
clouds, and when he touched the earth again, he broke 
into a thousand pieces. Out of the pieces there sprang 
a wild boar and galloped away, but the prince called 
his hounds to give chase, and they caught the boar 
and tore it to bits. Out of the pieces there sprang a 
hare, and in a moment the greyhounds were after it, and 
they caught it and killed it ; and out of the hare there 
came a pigeon. Quickly the prince let loose his hawk, 
which soared straight into the air, then swooped upon the 
bird and brought it to his master. The prince cut open 
its body and found the sparrow inside, as the old woman 
had said. 

' Now,' cried the prince, holding the sparrow in his hand, 
' now you shall tell me where I can find my brothers.' 

1 Do not hurt me,' answered the sparrow, ' and I will 
tell you with all my heart.' Behind your father's castle 
stands a mill, and in the mill are three slender twigs. 
Gut off these twigs and strike their roots with them, and 
the iron door of a cellar will open. In the cellar you will 
find as many people, young and old, women and children, 
as would fill a kingdom, and among them are your 

By this time twilight had fallen, so the prince washed 
himself in the lake, took the hawk on his shoulder and 
the pipes under his arm, and with his greyhounds before 


him and his flock behind him, marched gaily into the 
town, the princess following them all, still trembling with 
fright. And so they passed through the streets, thronged 
with a wondering crowd, till they reached the castle. 

Unknown to anyone, the emperor had stolen out on 
horseback, and had hidden himself on the hill, where he 
could see all that happened. When all was over, and the 
power of the dragon was broken for ever, he rode quickly 
back to the castle, and was ready to receive the prince 
with open arms, and to promise him his daughter to wife. 
The wedding took place with great splendour, and for a 
whole week the town was hung with coloured lamps, and 
tables were spread in the hall of the castle for all who 
chose to come and eat. And when the feast was over, 
the prince told the emperor and the people who he really 
was, and at this everyone rejoiced still more, and prepara- 
tions were made for the prince and princess to return to 
their own kingdom, for the prince was impatient to set 
free his brothers. 

The first thing he did when he reached his native 
country was to hasten to the mill, where he found the three 
twigs as the sparrow had told him. The moment that he 
struck the root the iron door flew open, and from the 
cellar a countless multitude of men and women streamed 
forth. He bade them go one by one wheresoever they 
would, while he himself waited by the door till his brothers 
passed through. How delighted they were to meet again, 
and to hear all that the prince had done to deliver them 
from their enchantment. And they went home with him 
and served him all the days of their lives, for they said 
that he only who had proved himself brave and faithful 
was fit to be king 

[From Volksmarchen tier Serben.} 



Once upon a time the things in this story happened, and 
if they had not happened then the story would never 
have been told. But that was the time when wolves and 
lambs lay peacefully together in one stall, and shepherds 
dined on grassy banks with kings and queens. 

Once upon a time, then, my dear good children, there 
lived a man. Now this man was really a hundred years 
old, if not fully twenty years more. And his wife was 
very old too — how old I do not know ; but some said she 
was as old as the goddess Yenus herself. They had been 
very happy all these years, but they would have been 
happier still if they had had any children ; but old though 
they were they had never made up their minds to do 
without them, and often they would sit over the fire and 
talk of how they would have brought up their children if 
only some had come to their house. 

One day the old man seemed sadder and more 
thoughtful than was common with him, and at last he 
said to his wife : ' Listen to me, old woman ! ' 

' What do you want ? ' asked she. 

' Get me some money out of the chest, for I am going 
a long journey — all through the world — to see if I cannot 
find a child, for my heart aches to think that after I am 
dead my house will fall into the hands of a stranger. And 
this let me tell you : that if I never find a child I shall 
not come home again.' 

Then the old man took a bag and filled it with food 
and money, and throwing it over his shoulders, bade his 
wife farewell. 


For long he wandered, and wandered, and wandered, 
but no child did he see ; and one morning his wanderings 
led him to a forest which was so thick with trees that no 
light could pass through the branches. The old man 
stopped when he saw this dreadful place, and at first was 
afraid to go in ; but he remembered that, after all, as the 
proverb says : ' It is the unexpected that happens,' and 
perhaps in the midst of this black spot he might find the 
child he was seeking. So summoning up all his courage 
he plunged boldly in. 

How long he might have been walking there he 
never could have told you, when at last he reached the 
mouth of a cave where the darkness seemed a hundred 
times darker than the wood itself. Again he paused, but 
he felt as if something was driving him to enter, and with 
a beating heart he stepped in. 

For some minutes the silence and darkness so appalled 
him that he stood where he was, not daring to advance 
one step. Then he made a great effort and went on a 
few paces, and suddenly, far before him, he saw the 
glimmer of a light. This put new heart into him, and he 
directed his steps straight towards the faint rays, till he 
could see, sitting by it, an old hermit, with a long white 

The hermit either did not hear the approach of his 
visitor, or pretended not to do so, for he took no notice, 
and continued to read his book. After waiting patiently 
for a little while, the old man fell on his knees, and said : 
1 Good morning, holy father ! ' But he might as well have 
spoken to the rock. * Good morning, holy father,' he 
said again, a little louder than before, and this time the 
hermit made a sign to him to come nearer. * My son,' 
whispered he, in a voice that echoed through the cavern, 
1 what brings you to this dark and dismal place ? Hun- 
dreds of years have passed since my eyes have rested on 
the face of a man, and I did not think to look on one 


1 My misery has brought me here/ replied the old 
man ; ' I have no child, and all our lives my wife and I 
have longed for one. So I left my home, and went out 
into the world, hoping that somewhere I might find what 
I was seeking.' 

Then the hermit picked up an apple from the ground, 
and gave it to him, saying : ' Eat half of this apple, and 
give the rest to your wife, and cease wandering through 
the world.' 

The old man stooped and kissed the feet of the hermit 
for sheer joy, and left the cave. He made his w r ay through 
the forest as fast as the darkness would let him, and at 
length arrived in flowery fields, which dazzled him with 
their brightness. Suddenly he was seized with a despe- 
rate thirst, and a burning in his throat. He looked for 
a stream but none was to be seen, and his tongue grew 
more parched every moment. At length his eyes fell on 
the apple, which all this while he had been holding in his 
hand, and in his thirst he forgot what the hermit had 
told him, and instead of eating merely his own half, he 
ate up the old woman's also ; after that he went to sleep. 

When he woke up he saw something strange lying 
on a bank a little way off, amidst long trails of pink 
roses. The old man got up, rubbed his eyes, and went to 
see what it was, when, to his surprise and joy, it proved 
to be a little girl about two years old, with a skin as pink 
and white as the roses above her. He took her gently 
in his arms, but she did not seem at all frightened, and 
only jumped and crowed with delight; and the old man 
wrapped his cloak round her, and set off for home as fast 
as his legs would carry him. 

When they were close to the cottage where they lived 
he laid the child in a pail that was standing near the 
door, and ran into the house, crying : Come quickly, wife, 
quickly, for I have brought you a daughter, with hair of 
gold and eyes like stars ! ' 

At this wonderful news the old woman flew downstairs, 


almost tumbling down in her eagerness to see the treasure ; 
but when her husband led her to the pail it was perfectly 
empty ! The old man was nearly beside himself with 
horror, while his wife sat down and sobbed with grief and 
disappointment. There was not a spot round about which 
they did not search, thinking that somehow the child 
might have got out of the pail and hidden itself for fun ; 
but the little girl was not there, and there was no sign of 

' Where can she be ? ' moaned the old man, in despair. 
' Oh, why did I ever leave her, even for a moment ? 
Have the fairies taken her, or has some wild beast carried 
her off? ' And they began their search all over again ; but 
neither fairies nor wild beasts did they meet with, and 
with sore hearts they gave it up at last and turned sadly 
into the hut. 

And what had become of the baby ? Well, finding 
herself left alone in a strange place she began to cry with 
fright, and an eagle hovering near, heard her, and went to 
see what the sound came from. When he beheld the fat 
pink and white creature he thought of his hungry little 
ones at home, and swooping down he caught her up in 
his claws and was soon flying with her over the tops of 
the trees. In a few minutes he reached the one in which 
he had built his nest, and laying little Wildrose (for so the 
old man had called her) among his downy young eaglets, 
he flew away. The eaglets naturally were rather sur- 
prised at this strange animal, so suddenly popped down 
in their midst, but instead of beginning to eat her, as their 
father expected, they nestled up close to her and spread 
out their tiny wings to shield her from the sun. 

Now, in the depths of the forest where the eagle had 
built his nest, there ran a stream whose waters were 
poisonous, and on the banks of this stream dwelt a horri- 
ble lindworm with seven heads. The lindworm had often 
watched the eagle flying about the top of the tree, carry- 
ing food to his young ones and, accordingly, he watched 

The EjxcAe carries oJJ little \0ildro&e^ 




carefully for the moment when the eaglets began to try 
their wings and to fly away from the nest. Of course, if 
the eagle himself was there to protect them even the lind- 
worm, big and strong as he was, knew that he could do 
nothing ; but when he was absent, any little eaglets 
who ventured too near the ground would be sure to 
disappear down the monster's throat. Their brothers, 
who had been left behind as too young and weak to see 
the world, knew nothing of all this, but supposed their 
turn would soon come to see the world also. And in a 
few days their eyes, too, opened and their wings flapped 
impatiently, and they longed to fly away above the 
waving tree-tops to mountain and the bright sun beyond. 
But that very midnight the lindworm, who was hungry 
and could not wait for his supper, came out of the brook 
with a rushing noise, and made straight for the tree. 
Two eyes of flame came creeping nearer, nearer, and two 
flery tongues were stretching themselves out closer, closer, 
to the little birds who were trembling and shuddering in 
the farthest corner of the nest. But just as the tongues 
had almost reached them, the lindworm gave a fearful 
cry, and turned and fell backwards. Then came the 
sound of battle from the ground below, and the tree 
shook, though there was no wind, and roars and snarls 
mixed together, till the eaglets felt more frightened than 
ever, and thought their last hour had come. Only Wild- 
rose was undisturbed, and slept sweetly through it all. 

In the morning the eagle returned and saw traces of a 
fight below the tree, and here and there a handful of 
yellow mane lying about, and here and there a hard scaly 
substance ; when he saw that he rejoiced greatly, and 
hastened to the nest. 

1 Who has slain the lindworm ? ' he asked of his 
children ; there were so many that he did not at first 
miss the two which the lindworm had eaten. But the 
eaglets answered that they could not tell, only that they 
had been in danger of their lives, and at the last moment 



they had been delivered. Then the sunbeam had 
struggled through the thick branches and caught Wild- 
rose's golden hair as she lay curled up in the corner, and 
the eagle wondered, as he looked, whether the little girl 
had brought him luck, and it was her magic which had 
killed his enemy. 

1 Children,' he said, * I brought her here for your 
dinner, and you have not touched her ; what is the mean- 
ing of this ? ' But the eaglets did not answer, and Wild- 
rose opened her eyes, and seemed seven times lovelier 
than before. 

From that day.Wildrose lived like a little princess. The 
eagle flew about the wood and collected the softest, green- 
est moss he could find to make her a bed, and then he 
picked with his beak all the brightest and prettiest flowers 
in the fields or on the mountains to decorate it. So 
cleverly did he manage it that there was not a fairy in the 
whole of the forest who would not have been pleased to 
sleep there, rocked to and fro by the breeze on the tree- 
tops. And when the little ones were able to fly from their 
nest he taught them where to look for the fruits and 
berries which she loved. 

So the time passed by, and with each year Wildrose 
grew taller and more beautiful, and she lived happily in 
her nest and never wanted to go out of it, only standing 
at the edge in the sunset, and looking upon the beautiful 
world. For company she had all the birds in the forest, 
who came and talked to her, and for playthings the 
strange flowers which they brought her from far, and the 
butterflies which danced with her. And so the days 
slipped away, and she was fourteen years old. 

One morning the emperor's son went out to hunt, 
and he had not ridden far, before a deer started from 
under a grove of trees, and ran before him. The prince 
instantly gave chase, and where the stag led he followed, 
till at length he found himself in the depths of the forest, 
where no man before had trod. 




The trees were so thick and the wood so dark, that he 
paused for a moment and listened, straining his ears 
to catch some sound to break a silence which almost 
frightened him. But nothing came, not even the baying 

^P:tl-e;aa71ldro5e 1 


of a hound or the note of a horn. He stood still, and 
wondered if he should go on, when, on looking up, a 
stream of light seemed to flow from the top of a tall tree. 
In its rays he could see the nest with the young eaglets, 
who were watching him over the side. The> prince fitted 


an arrow into his bow and took his aim, but, before ho 
could let fly, another ray of light dazzled him ; so brilliant 
was it, that his bow dropped, and he covered his face with 
his hands. When at last he ventured to peep, Wildrose, 
with her golden hair flowing round her, was looking at 
him. This was the first time she had seen a man. 

' Tell me how I can reach you ? ' cried he ; but Wild- 
rose smiled and shook her head, and sat down quietly. 

The prince saw that it was no use, and turned and 
made his way out of the forest. But he might as well 
have stayed there, for any good he was to his father, so 
full was his heart of longing for Wildrose. Twice he 
returned to the forest in the hopes of finding her, but 
this time fortune failed him, and he went home as sad 
as ever. 

At length the emperor, who could not think what had 
caused this change, sent for his son and asked him what 
was the matter. Then the prince confessed that the 
image of Wildrose filled his soul, and that he would 
never be happy without her. At first the emperor felt 
rather distressed. He doubted whether a girl from a tree 
top would make a good empress ; but he loved his son so 
much that he promised to do all he could to find her. 
So the next morning heralds were sent forth throughout 
the whole land to inquire if anyone knew where a maiden 
could be found who lived in a forest on the top of a tree, 
and to promise great riches and a place at court to any 
person who should find her. But nobody knew. All the 
girls in the kingdom had their homes on the ground, and 
laughed at the notion of being brought up in a tree. ' A 
nice kind of empress she would make,' they said, as the 
emperor had done, tossing their heads with disdain ; for, 
having read many books, they guessed what she was 
wanted for. 

The heralds were almost in despair, when an old 
woman stepped out of the crowd and came and spoke 
to them. She was not only very old, but she was very 


ugty, with a hump on her back and a bald head, and 
when the heralds saw her they broke into rude laughter. 
'I can show you the maiden who lives in the tree-top,' 
she said, but they only laughed the more loudly, 

1 Get away, old witch ! ' they cried, ' you will bring us 
bad luck ' ; but the old woman stood firm, and declared 
that she alone knew where to find the maiden. 

1 Go with her,' said the eldest of the heralds at last. 
' The emperor's orders are clear, that whoever knew any- 
thing of the maiden was to come at once to court. Put 
her in the coach and take her with us.' 

So in this fashion the old woman was brought to 

' You have declared that you can bring hither the 
maiden from the wood ? ' said the emperor, who was 
seated on his throne. 

'Yes, your Majesty, and I will keep my word,' 
said she. 

' Then bring her at once,' said the emperor. 

' Give me first a kettle and a tripod,' asked the old 
woman, and the emperor ordered them to be brought 
instantly. The old woman picked them up, and tucking 
them under her arm went on her way, keeping at a little 
distance behind the royal huntsmen, who in their turn 
followed the prince. 

Oh, what a noise that old woman made as she walked 
along ! She chattered to herself so fast and clattered her 
kettle so loudly that you would have thought that a 
whole campful of gipsies must be coming round the next 
corner. But when they reached the forest, she bade them 
all wait outside, and entered the dark wood by herself. 

She stopped underneath the tree where the maiden 
dwelt and, gathering some dry sticks, kindled a fire. Next, 
she placed the tripod over it, and the kettle on top. But 
something w r as the matter with the kettle. As fast as 
the old woman put it where it was to stand, that kettle 
was sure to roll off, falling to the ground with a crash. 



It really seemed bewitched, and no one knows what might 
have happened if Wildrose, who had been all the time 
peeping out of her nest, had not lost patience at the old 

woman's stupidity, and cried out : ' The tripod won't 
stand on that hill, you must move it ! ' 

' But where am I to move it to, my child ? ' asked the 


old woman, looking up to the nest, and at the same 
moment trying to steady the kettle with one hand and 
the tripod with the other. 

' Didn't I tell you that it was no good doing that,' 
said Wildrose, more impatiently than before. ' Make a fire 
near a tree and hang the kettle from one of the branches.' 

The old woman took the kettle and hung it on a little 
twig, which broke at once, and the kettle fell to the 

1 If you would only show me how to do it, perhaps I 
should understand,' said she. 

Quick as thought, the maiden slid down the smooth 
trunk of the tree, and stood beside the stupid old woman, 
to teach her how things ought to be done. But in an 
instant the old woman had caught up the girl and swung 
her over her shoulders, and was running as fast as she 
could go to the edge of the forest, where she had left the 
prince. When he saw them coming he rushed eagerly 
to meet them, and he took the maiden in his arms and 
kissed her tenderly before them all. Then a golden dress 
was put on her, and pearls were twined in her hair, and 
she took her seat in the emperor's carriage which was 
drawn by six of the whitest horses in the world, and they 
carried her, without stopping to draw breath, to the gates 
of the palace. And in three days the wedding was 
celebrated, and the wedding feast was held, and everyone 
who saw the bride declared that if anybody wanted a 
perfect wife they must go to seek her on top of a tree. 

[Adapted from the Roumauiau.] 



Once upon a time there lived a poor man who had more 
children than bread to feed them with. However, they 
were strong and willing, and soon learned to make them- 
selves of use to their father and mother, and when they 
were old enough they went out to service, and everyone 
was very glad to get them for servants, for they worked 
hard and were always cheerful. Out of all the ten or 
eleven, there was only one who gave his parents any 
trouble, and this was a big lazy boy whose name was 
Tiidu. Neither scoldings nor beatings nor kind words 
had any effect on him, and the older he grew the idler he 
got. He spent his winters crouching close to a warm 
stove, and his summers asleep under a shady tree ; and 
if he was not doing either of these things he was playing 
tunes on his flute. 

One day he was sitting under a bush playing so 
sweetly that you might easily have mistaken the notes for 
those of a bird, when an old man passed by. ' What 
trade do you wish to follow, my son ? ' he asked in a 
friendly voice, stopping as he did so in front of the youth. 

1 If I were only a rich man, and had no need to work,' 
replied the boy, ' I should not follow any. I could not 
bear to be anybody's servant, as all my brothers and 
sisters are.' 

The old man laughed as he heard this answer, and 
said : ' But I do not exactly see where your riches are to 
come from if you do not work for them. Sleeping cats 
catch no mice. He who wishes to become rich must use 


either his hands or his head, and be ready to toil night 
and day, or else ' 

But here the youth broke in rudely : 

1 Be silent, old man 1 I have been told all that a 
hundred times over ; and it runs off me like water off a 
duck's back. No one will ever make a worker out of me.' 

1 You have one gift,' replied the old man, taking no 
notice of this speech, ' and if you would only go about 
and play the pipes, you would easily earn, not only your 
daily bread, but a little money into the bargain. Listen 
to me ; get yourself a set of pipes, and learn to play on 
them as well as you do on your flute, and wherever there 
are men to hear you, I promise you will never lack 

' But where am I to get the pipes from ? ' asked the 

1 Blow on your flute for a few days,' replied the old 
man, ' and you will soon be able to buy your pipes. By- 
and-by I will come back again and see if you have 
taken my advice, and whether you are likely to grow rich.' 
And so saying he went his way. 

Tiidu stayed where he was a little longer, thinking of 
all the old man had told him, and the more he thought 
the surer he felt that the old man was right. He deter- 
mined to try whether his plan would really bring luck ; but 
as he did not like being laughed at he resolved not to tell 
anyone a word about it. So next morning he left home 
— and never came back ! His parents did not take his 
loss much to heart, but were rather glad that their useless 
son had for once shown a little spirit, and they hoped 
that time and hardship might cure Tiidu of his idle 

For some weeks Tiidu wandered from one village to 
another, and proved for himself the truth of the old man's 
promise. The people he met were all friendly and kind, 
and enjoyed his flute-playing, giving him his food in 
return, and even a few pence. These pence the youth 


hoarded carefully till he had collected enough to buy a 
beautiful pair of pipes. Then he felt himself indeed on 
the high road to riches. Nowhere could pipes be found 
as fine as his, or played in so masterly a manner. Tiidu's 
pipes set everybody's legs dancing. Wherever there was 
a marriage, a christening, or a feast of any kind, Tiidu 
must be there, or the evening would be a failure. In a 
few years he had become so noted a piper that people 
would travel far and wide to hear him. 

One day he was invited to a christening where many 
rich men from the neighbouring town were present, and 
all agreed that never in all their lives had they heard 
such playing as his. They crowded round him, and 
praised him, and pressed him to come to their homes, 
declaring that it was a shame not to give their friends the 
chance of hearing such music. Of course all this delighted 
Tiidu, who accepted gladly, and left their houses laden 
with money and presents of every kind ; one great lord 
clothed him in a magnificent dress, a second hung a 
chain of pearls round his neck, while a third handed him 
a set of new pipes encrusted in silver. As for the ladies, 
the girls twisted silken scarves round his plumed hat, and 
their mothers knitted him gloves of all colours, to keep 
out the cold. Any other man in Tiidu's place would 
have been contented and happy in this life; but his 
craving for riches gave him no rest, and only goaded him 
day by day to fresh exertions, so that even his own mother 
would not have known him for the lazy boy who was 
always lying asleep in one place or the other. 

Now Tiidu saw quite clearly that he could only hope 
to become rich by means of his pipes, and set about 
thinking if there was nothing he could do to make the 
money flow in faster. At length he remembered having 
heard some stories of a kingdom in the Kungla country, 
where musicians of all sorts were welcomed and highly 
paid ; but where it was, or how it was -reached, he could 
not recollect, however hard he thought. In despair, he 


wandered along the coast, hoping to see some ship or 
sailing boat that would take him where he wished to 
go, and at length he reached the town of Narva, where 
several merchantmen were lying at anchor. To his great 
joy, he found that one of them was sailing for Kungla in 
a few days, and he hastily went on board, and asked for 
the captain. But the cost of the passage was more than 
the prudent Tiidu cared to pay, and though he played his 
best on his pipes, the captain refused to lower his price, 
and Tiidu was just thinking of returning on shore when 
his usual luck flew to his aid. A young sailor, who had 
heard him play, came secretly to him, and offered to hide 
him on board, in the absence of the captain. So the next 
night, as soon as it was dark, Tiidu stepped softly on 
deck, and was hidden by his friend down in the hold in 
a corner between two casks. Unseen by the rest of the 
crew the sailor managed to bring him food and drink, 
and when they were well out of sight of land he pro- 
ceeded to carry out a plan he had invented to deliver 
Tiidu from his cramped quarters. At midnight, while he 
was keeping watch and everyone else was sleeping, the man 
bade his friend Tiidu follow him on deck, where he tied a 
rope round Tiidu's body, fastening the other end carefully 
to one of the ship's ropes. ' Now,' he said, ' I will throw 
you into the sea, and you must shout for help ; and when 
you see the sailors coming untie the rope from your waist, 
and tell them that you have swum after the ship all the 
way from shore.' 

At first Tiidu did not much like this scheme, for the 
sea ran high, but he was a good swimmer, and the sailor 
assured him that there was no danger. As soon as he 
was in the water, his friend hastened to rouse his mates, 
declaring that he was sure that there was a man in the 
sea, following the ship. They all came on deck, and what 
was their surprise when they recognised the person who 
had bargained about a passage the previous day with the 


I Are you a ghost, or a dying man ? ' they asked him 
trembling, as they stooped over the side of the ship. 

I I shall soon indeed be a dead man if you do not help 
me,' answered Tiidu, ' for my strength is going fast.' 

Then the captain seized a rope and flung it out to him, 
and Tiidu held it between his teeth, while, unseen by the 
sailors, he loosed the one tied round his waist. 

' Where have you come from ? * said the captain, when 
Tiidu was brought up on board the ship. 

1 1 have followed you from the harbour/ answered he, 
1 and have been often in sore dread lest my strength 
should fail me. I hoped that by swimming after the ship 
I might at last reach Kungla, as I had no money to pay 
my passage/ The captain's heart melted at these words, 
and he said kindly : ' You may be thankful that you were 
not drowned. I will land you at Kungla free of payment, 
as you are so anxious to get there.' So he gave him dry 
clothes to wear, and a berth to sleep in, and Tiidu and 
his friend secretly made merry over their cunning trick. 

For the rest of the voyage the ship's crew treated 
Tiidu as something higher than themselves, seeing that in 
all their lives they had never met with any man that 
could swim for as many hours as he had done. This 
pleased Tiidu very much, though he knew that he had 
really done nothing to deserve it, and in return he 
delighted them by tunes on his pipes. When, after some 
days, they cast anchor at Kungla, the story of his 
wonderful swim brought him many friends, for everybody 
wished to hear him tell the tale himself. This might 
have been all very well, had not Tiidu lived in dread that 
some day he would be asked to give proof of his marvel- 
lous swimming powers, and then everything would be 
found out. Meanwhile he was dazzled with the splendour 
around him, and more than ever he longed for part of the 
riches, about which the owners seemed to care so little. 

He wandered through the streets for many days, 
seeking some one who wanted a servant ; but though more 


than one person would have been glad to engage him, 
they seemed to Tiidu not the sort of people to help 
him to get rich quickly. At last, when he had almost 
made up his mind that he must accept the next place 
offered him, he happened to knock at the door of a rich 
merchant who was in need of a scullion, and gladly 
agreed to do the cook's bidding, and it was in this 
merchant's house that he first learned how great were the 
riches of the land of Kungla. All the vessels which in 
other countries are made of iron, copper, brass, or tin, 
in Kungla were made of silver, or even of gold. The 
food was cooked in silver saucepans, the bread baked in 
a silver oven, while the dishes and their covers were 
all of gold. Even the very pigs' troughs were of silver 
too. But the sight of these things only made Tiidu more 
covetous than before. ' What is the use of all this wealth 
that I have constantly before my eyes,' thought he, ' if 
none of it is mine ? I shall never grow rich by what I 
earn as a scullion, even though I am paid as much in a 
month as I should get elsewhere in a year.' 

By this time he had been in his place for two years, 
and had put by quite a large sum of money. His 
passion of saving had increased to such a pitch that it 
was only by his master's orders that he ever bought 
any new clothes, ' For,' said the merchant, ' I will not 
have dirty people in my house.' So with a heavy heart 
Tiidu spent some of his next month's wages on a cheap 

One day the merchant held a great feast in honour of 
the christening of his youngest child, and he gave each of 
his servants a handsome garment for the occasion. The 
following Sunday, Tiidu, who liked fine clothes when he 
did not have to pay for them, put on his new coat, and 
went for a walk to some beautiful pleasure gardens, which 
were always full of people on a sunny day. He sat down 
under a shady tree, and watched the passers-by, but after 
a little he began to feel rather lonely, for he knew nobody 

c. I 


and nobody knew him. Suddenly his eyes fell on the 
figure of an old man, which seemed familiar to him, 
though he could not tell when or where he had seen it. 
He watched the figure for some time, till at length the 
old man left the crowded paths, and threw himself on 
the soft grass under a lime tree, which stood at some 
distance from where Tiidu was sitting. Then the young 
man walked slowly past, in order that he might look at 
him more closely, and as he did so the old man smiled, 
and held out his hand. 

' What have you done with your pipes ? ' asked he ; and 
then in a moment Tiidu knew him. Taking his arm he 
drew him into a quiet place and told him all that had 
happened since they had last met. The old man shook 
his head as he listened, and when Tiidu had finished his 
tale, he said : ' A fool you are, and a fool you will always 
be ! Was there ever such a piece of folly as to exchange 
your pipes for a scullion's ladle ? You could have made 
as much by the pipes in a day as your wages would 
have come to in half a year. Go home and fetch your 
pipes, and play them here, and you will soon see if I 
have spoken the truth.' 

Tiidu did not like this advice — he was afraid that 
the people would laugh at him ; and, besides, it was 
long since he had touched his pipes — but the old man 
persisted, and at last Tiidu did as he was told. 

1 Sit down on the bank by me,' said the old man, when 
he came back, * and begin to play* and in a little while the 
people will flock round you.' Tiidu obeyed, at first without 
much heart ; but somehow the tone of the pipes was sweeter 
than he had remembered, and as he played, the crowd 
ceased to walk and chatter, and stood still and silent 
round him. When he had played for some time he took 
off his hat and passed it round, and dollars, and small 
silver coins, and even gold pieces, came tumbling in. 
Tiidu played a couple more tunes by way of thanks, then 
turned to go home, hearing on all sides murmurs of 


1 What a wonderful piper ! Come back, we pray you, 
next Sunday to give us another treat.' 

' What did I tell you ? ' said the old man, as they 
passed through the garden gate. ' Was it not pleasanter 
to play for a couple of hours on the pipes than to be 
stirring sauces all day long ? For the second time I have 
shown you the path to follow ; try to learn wisdom, and 
take the bull by the horns, lest your luck should slip from 
you ! I can be your guide no longer, therefore listen to 
what I say, and obey me. Go every Sunday afternoon 
to those gardens ; and sit under the lime tree and play to 
the people, and bring a felt hat with a deep crown, and 
lay it on the ground at your feet, so that everyone can 
throw some money into it. If you are invited to play at 
a feast, accept willingly, but beware of asking a fixed 
price ; say you will take whatever they may feel inclined 
to give. You will get far more money in the end. 
Perhaps, some day, our paths may cross, and then I shall 
see how far you have followed my advice. Till then, 
farewell ' ; and the old man went his way. 

As before, his words came true, though Tiidu could 
not at once do his bidding, as he had first to fulfil his 
appointed time of service. Meanwhile he ordered some 
fine clothes, in which he played every Sunday in the 
gardens, and when he counted his gains in the evening 
they were always more than on the Sunday before. 
At length he was free to do as he liked, and he had 
more invitations to play than he could manage to 
accept, and at night, when the citizens used to go and 
drink in the inn, the landlord always begged Tiidu to 
come and play to them. Thus he grew so rich that very 
soon he had his silver pipes covered with gold, so that 
they glistened in the light of the sun or the fire. In all 
Kungla there was no prouder man than Tiidu. 

In a few years he had saved such a large sum of 
money that he was considered a rich man even in 
Kungla, where everybody was rich. And then he had 


leisure to remember that he had once had a home, and a 
family, and that he should like to see them both again, and 
show them how well he could play. This time he would 
not need to hide in the ship's hold, but could hire the best 
cabin if he wished to, or even have a vessel all to himself. 
So he packed all his treasures in large chests, and sent 
them on board the first ship that was sailing to his native 
land, and followed them with a light heart. The wind at 
starting was fair, but it soon freshened, and in the night 
rose to a gale. For two days they ran before it, and 
hoped that by keeping well out to sea they might be able 
to weather the storm, when, suddenly, the ship struck on a 
rock, and began to fill. Orders were given to lower the 
boats, and Tiidu with three sailors got into one of them, 
but before they could push away from the ship a huge 
w T ave overturned it, and all four were flung into the 
water. Luckily for Tiidu an oar was floating near him, 
and with its help he was able to keep on the surface of 
the water ; and when the sun rose, and the mist cleared 
away, he saw that he was not far from shore. By hard 
swimming, for the sea still ran high, he managed to reach 
it, and pulled himself out of the water, more dead than 
alive. Then he flung himself down on the ground and 
fell fast asleep. 

When he awoke he got up to explore the island, and 
see if there were any men upon it ; but though he found 
streams and fruit trees in abundance, there was no trace 
either of man or beast. Then, tired with his wanderings 
he sat down and began to think. 

For perhaps the first time in his life his thoughts did 
not instantly tarn to money. It was not on his lost 
treasures that his mind dwelt, but on his conduct to his 
parents : his laziness and disobedience as a boy ; his for- 
getfulness of them as a man. ' If wild animals were to 
come and tear me to pieces,' he said to himself bitterly, 
' it would be only what I deserve ! My gains are all at 
the bottom of the sea — well ! lightly won, lightly lost — 


but it is odd that I feel I should not care for that if 
only my pipes were left me.' Then he rose and walked a 
little further, till he saw a tree with great red apples 
shining amidst the leaves, and he pulled some down, and 
ate them greedily. After that he stretched himself out on 
the soft moss and went to sleep. 

In the morning he ran to the nearest stream to 
wash himself, but to his horror, when he caught sight of 
his face, he saw his nose had grown the colour of an 
apple, and reached nearly to his waist. He started 
back thinking he was dreaming, and put up his hand ; 
but, alas ! the dreadful thing was true. ' Oh, why does 
not some wild beast devour me ? ' he cried to himself ; 
' never, never, can I go again amongst my fellow-men ! 
If only the sea had swallowed me up, how much happier 
it had been for me ! ' And he hid his head in his hands 
and wept. His grief was so violent, that it exhausted him, 
and growing hungry he looked about for something to eat. 
Just above him was a bough of ripe, brown nuts, and he 
picked them and ate a handful. To his surprise, as he was 
eating them, he felt his nose grow shorter and shorter, and 
after a while he ventured to feel it with his hand, and 
even to look in the stream again ! Yes, there was no 
mistake, it was as short as before, or perhaps a little 
shorter. In his joy at this discovery Tiidu did a very 
bold thing. He took one of the apples out of his pocket, 
and cautiously bit a piece out of it. In an instant his 
nose was as long as his chin, and in a deadly fear lest 
it should stretch further, he hastily swallowed a nut, and 
awaited the result with terror. Supposing that the shrink- 
ing of his nose had only been an accident before ! Sup- 
posing that that nut and no other was able to cause its 
shrinking ! In that case he had, by his own folly, in not 
letting well alone, ruined his life completely. But, no ! 
he had guessed rightly, for in no more time than his nose 
had taken to grow long did it take to return to its proper 
size. ' This may make my fortune,' he said joyfully to 


himself ; and he gathered some of the apples, which he put 
into one pocket, and a good supply of nuts which he put 
into the other. Next day he wove a basket out of some 
rushes, so that if he ever left the island he might be able 
to carry his treasures about. 

That night he dreamed that his friend the old man 
appeared to him and said : ' Because you did not mourn 
for your lost treasure, but only for your pipes, I will give 
you a new set to replace them.' And, behold ! in the morn- 
ing w T hen he got up a set of pipes was lying in the basket. 
With what joy did he seize them and begin one of his 
favourite tunes ; and as he played hope sprang up in his 
heart, and he looked out to sea, to try to detect the sign 
of a sail. Yes ! there it w T as, making straight for the 
island ; and Tiidu, holding his pipes in his hand, dashed 
down to the shore. 

The sailors knew the island to be uninhabited, and were 
much surprised to see a man standing on the beach, waving 
his arms in welcome to them. A boat was put off, and 
two sailors rowed to the shore to discover how he came 
there, and if he wished to be taken away. Tiidu told 
them the story of his shipwreck, and the captain promised 
that he should come on board, and sail with them back to 
Kungla ; and thankful indeed was Tiidu to accept the offer, 
and to show his gratitude by playing on his pipes when- 
ever he was asked to do so. 

They had a quick voyage, and it was not long before Tiidu 
found himself again in the streets of the capital of Kungla, 
playing as he went along. The people had heard no music 
like his since he went away, and they crowded round 
him, and in their joy gave him whatever money they had 
in their pockets. His first care was to buy himself some 
new clothes, which he sadly needed, taking care, how T ever, 
that they should be made after a foreign fashion. When; 
they were ready, he set out one day with a small basket 
of his famous apples, and went up to the palace. He did 



not have to wait long before one of the royal servants 
passed by and bought all the apples, begging as he did 

so that the merchant should return and bring some more. 
This Tiidu promised, and hastened away as if he had a 


mad bull behind him, so afraid was he that the man 
should begin to eat an apple at once. 

It is needless to say that for some days he took no more 
apples back to the palace, but kept well away on the other 
side of the town, wearing other clothes, and disguised by 
a long black beard, so that even his own mother would not 
have known him. 

The morning after his visit to the castle the whole city 
was in an uproar about the dreadful misfortune that had 
happened to the Koyal Family, for not only the king but 
his wife and children, had eaten of the stranger's apples, 
and all, so said the rumour, were very ill. The most famous 
doctors and the greatest magicians were hastily summoned 
to the palace, but they shook their heads and came away 
again ; never had they met with such a disease in all the 
course of their experience. By-and-bye a story went round 
the town, started no one knew how, that the malady was 
in some way connected with the nose ; and men rubbed 
their own anxiously, to be sure that nothing catching was 
in the air. 

Matters had been in this state for more than a week 
when it reached the ears of the king that a man was 
living in an inn on the other side of the town who de- 
clared himself able to cure all manner of diseases. In- 
stantly the royal carriage was commanded to drive with 
all speed and bring back this magician, offering him riches 
untold if he could restore their noses to their former 
length. Tiidu had expected this summons, and had sat 
up all night changing his appearance, and so well had 
he succeeded that not a trace remained either of the 
piper or of the apple seller. He stepped into the carriage, 
and was driven post haste to the king, who was feverishly 
counting every moment, for both his nose and the queen's 
were by this time more than a yard long, and they did 
not know where they would stop. 

Now Tiidu thought it would not look well to cure 
the royal family by giving them the raw nuts ; he felt 


that it might arouse suspicion. So he had carefully 
pounded them into a powder, and divided the powder up 
into small doses, which were to be put on the tongue and 
swallowed at once. He gave one of these to the king 
and another to the queen, and told them that before 
taking them they were to get into bed in a dark room and 
not to move for some hours, after which they might be 
sure that they would come out cured. 

The king's joy was so great at this news that he 
would gladly have given Tiidu half of his kingdom ; but 
the piper was no longer so greedy of money as he once 
was, before he had been shipwrecked on the island. If 
he could get enough to buy a small estate and live 
comfortably on it for the rest of his life, that was all he 
now cared for. However, the king ordered his treasurer 
to pay him three times as much as he asked, and with 
this Tiidu went down to the harbour and engaged a small 
ship to carry him back to his native country. The wind 
was fair, and in ten days the coast, which he had almost 
forgotten, stood clear before him. In a few hours he 
was standing in his old home, where his father, three 
sisters, and two brothers gave him a hearty welcome. His 
mother and his other brothers had died some years 

When the meeting was over, he began to make 
inquiries about a small estate that was for sale near the 
town, and after he had bought it the next thing was to 
find a wife to share it with him. This did not take long 
either ; and people who were at the wedding feast declared 
that the best part of the whole day was the hour when 
Tiidu played to them on the pipes before they bade each 
other farewell and returned to their homes. 

[ From Eslh n Uche Miih rchen . ] 



Once upon a time there lived a king and a queen who 
had one son. The king loved the boy very much, but the 
queen, who was a wicked woman, hated the sight of him ; 
and this was the more unlucky for, when he was twelve 
years old, his father died, and he was left alone in the 

Now the queen was very angry because the people, 
who knew how bad she was, seated her son on the throne 
instead of herself, and she never rested till she had formed 
a plan to get him out of the way. Fortunately, however, 
the young king was wise and prudent, and knew her too 
well to trust her. 

One day, when his mourning was over, he gave orders 
that everything should be made ready for a grand hunt. 
The queen pretended to be greatly delighted that he 
was going to amuse himself once more, and declared 
that she would accompany him. 'No, mother, I cannot 
let you come/ he answered ; ' the ground is rough, and 
you are not strong.' But he might as well have spoken to 
the winds : when the horn was sounded at daybreak the 
queen was there with the rest. 

All that day they rode, for game was plentiful, but 
towards evening the mother and son found themselves 
alone in a part of the country that was strange to them. 
They wandered on for some time, without knowing where 
they were going, till they met with a man whom they 
begged to give them shelter. ' Come with me,' said the 
man gladly, for he was an ogre, and fed on human flesh ; 

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and the king and his mother went with him, and he led 
them to his house. When they got there they found to 
what a dreadful place they had come, and, falling on their 
knees, they offered him great sums of money, if he would 
only spare their lives. The ogre's heart was moved at 
the sight of the queen's beauty, and he promised that he 
would do her no harm ; but he stabbed the boy at once, 
and binding his body on a horse, turned him loose in the 

The ogre had happened to choose a horse which he 
had bought only the day before, and he did not know it 
was a magician, or he would not have been so foolish 
as to fix upon it on this occasion. The horse no sooner 
had been driven off with the prince's body on its back 
than it galloped straight to the home of the fairies, and 
knocked at the door with its hoof. The fairies heard the 
knock, but were afraid to open till they had peeped from 
an upper window to see that it was no giant or ogre who 
could do them harm. ' Oh, look, sister ! ' cried the first to 
reach the window, ' it is a horse that has knocked, and on 
its back there is bound a dead boy, the most beautiful 
boy in all the world ! ' Then the fairies ran to open the 
door, and let in the horse and unbound the ropes which 
fastened the young king on its back. And they gathered 
round to admire his beauty, and whispered one to the 
other : ' We will make him alive again, and will keep him 
for our brother.' And so they did, and for many years 
they all lived together as brothers and sisters. 

By-and-by the boy grew into a man, as boys will, 
and then the oldest of the fairies said to her sisters : ' Now 
I will marry him, and he shall be really your brother.' 
So the young king married the fairy, and they lived 
happily together in the castle ; but though he loved his 
wife he still longed to see the world. 

At length this longing grew so strong on him that he 
could bear it no more ; and, calling the fairies together, 
he said to them : * Dear wife and sisters, I must leave you 


for a time, and go out and see the world. But I shall think 
of you often, and one day I shall come back to you.' 

The fairies wept and begged him to stay, but he would 
not listen, and at last the eldest, who was his wife, said to 
him : ' If you really will abandon us, take this lock of my 
hair with you ; you will find it useful in time of need.' 
So she cut off a long curl, and handed it to him. 

The prince mounted his horse, and rode on all day 
without stopping once. Towards evening he found 
himself in a desert, and, look where he would, there was 
no such thing as a house or a man to be seen. ' What 
am I to do now ? ' he thought. ' If I go to sleep here 
wild beasts will come and eat me ! Yet both I and my 
horse are worn out, and can go no further.' Then 
suddenly he remembered the fairy's gift, and taking out 
the curl he said to it : 'I want a castle here, and servants, 
and dinner, and everything to make me comfortable to- 
night ; and besides that, I must have a stable and fodder 
for my horse.' And in a moment the castle w T as before 
him just as he had wished. 

In this way he travelled through many countries, till 
at last he came to a land that was ruled over by a great 
king. Leaving his horse outside the walls, he clad 
himself in the dress of a poor man, and went up to the 
palace. The queen, who was looking out of the window, 
saw him approaching, and filled with pity sent a servant to 
ask who he was and what he wanted. ' I am a stranger 
here,' answered the young king, * and very poor. I have 
come to beg for some work.' 'We have everybody we 
want,' said the queen, when the servant told her the 
young man's reply. ' We have a gate-keeper, and a hall 
porter, and servants of all sorts in the palace ; the only 
person we have not got is a goose-boy. Tell him that 
he can be our goose-boy if he likes.' The youth answered 
that he was quite content to be goose-boy ; and that was 
how he got his nickname of Paperarello. And in order 
that no one should guess that he was any better than a 



goose-boy should be, he rubbed his face and his rags over 
with mud, and made himself altogether such a disgusting 
• object that every one crossed over to the other side of 
the road when he was seen coming. 

' Do go and wash yourself, Paperarello ! ' said the 
queen sometimes, for he did his work so well that she 
took an interest in him. ' Oh, I should not feel comfort- 
able if I was clean, your Majesty,' answered he, and 
went whistling after his geese. 

It happened one day that, owing to some accident to 
the great flour mills which supplied the city, there was 
no bread to be had, rmd the king's army had to do 
without. When the king heard of it, he sent for the 
cook, and told him that by the next morning he must 
have all the bread that the oven, heated seven times 
over, could bake. ' But, your Majesty, it is not possible,' 
cried the poor man in despair. ' The mills have only just 
begun working, and the flour will not be ground till 
evening, and how can I heat the oven seven times in one 
night ? ' ' That is your affair,' answered the King, who, 
when he took anything into his head, would listen to 
nothing. ' If you succeed in baking the bread you shall 
have my daughter to wife, but if you fail your head will 
pay for it.' 

Now Paperarello, who was passing through the hall 
where the king was giving his orders, heard these words, 
and said : ' Your Majesty, have no fears ; I will bake your 
bread.' 'Very well,' answered the king ; 'but if you fail, 
you will pay for it with your head ! ' and signed that both 
should leave his presence. 

The cook was still trembling with the thought of what he 
had escaped, but to his surprise Paperarello did not seem 
disturbed at all, and when night came he went to sleep 
as usual. ' Paperarello,' cried the other servants, when 
they saw him quietly taking off his clothes, ' you cannot 
go to bed ; you will need every moment of the night for 
your work. Eemember, the king is not to be played with ! ' 


1 1 really must have some sleep first/ replied Papera- 
rello, stretching himself and yawning ; and he flung him- 
self on his bed, and was fast asleep in a moment. In 
an hour's time, the servants came and shook him by the 
shoulder. ' Paperarello, are you mad ? ' said they. ' Get 
up, or you will lose your head.' ' Oh, do let me sleep 
a little more/ answered he. And this was all he would 
say, though the servants returned to wake him many times 
in the night. 

At last the dawn broke, and the servants rushed to his 
room, crying : * Paperarello ! Paperarello ! get up, the king 
is coming. You have baked no bread, and of a surety he 
will have your head.' 

' Oh, don't scream so,' replied Paperarello, jumping 
out of bed as he spoke ; and taking the lock of hair in his 
hand, he went into the kitchen. And, behold ! there 
stood the bread piled high — four, five, six ovens full, and 
the seventh still waiting to be taken out of the oven. The 
servants stood and stared in surprise, and the king said : 
1 Well done, Paperarello, you have won my daughter.' 
And he thought to himself : ' This fellow must really be a 

But when the princess heard what was in store for 
her she wept bitterly, and declared that never, never 
would she marry that dirty Paperarello ! However, the 
king paid no heed to her tears and prayers, and before 
• many days were over the wedding was celebrated with 
great splendour, though the bridegroom had not taken the 
trouble to wash himself, and was as dirty as before. 

When night came he went as usual to sleep among 
his geese, and the princess went to the king and said : 
' Father, I entreat you to have that horrible Paperarello 
put to death.' ' No, no ! ' replied her father, 'he is a 
great magician, and before I put him to death, I must 
first find out the secret of his power, and then — we shall 

Soon after this a war broke out, and everybody about 


the palace was very busy polishing up armour and sharp- 
ening swords, for the king and his sons were to ride at 
the head of the army. Then Paperarello left his geese, 
and came and told the king that he wished to go to fight 
also. The king gave him leave, and told him that he 
might go to the stable and take any horse he liked from 
the stables. So Paperarello examined the horses carefully, 
but instead of picking out one of the splendid well- 
groomed creatures, whose skin shone like satin, he chose 
a poor lame thing, put a saddle on it, and rode after the 
other men-at-arms who were attending the king. In a 
short time he stopped, and said to them : ' My horse can 
go no further ; you must go on to the war without me, and 
I will stay here, and make some little clay soldiers, and 
will play at a battle.' The men laughed at him for being 
so childish, and rode on after their master. 

Scarcely were they out of sight than Paperarello took 
out his curl, and w T ished himself the best armour, the 
sharpest sword, and the swiftest horse in the world, and 
the next minute was riding as fast as he could to the field 
of battle. The fight had already begun, and the enemy 
was getting the best of it, when Paperarello rode up, and 
in a moment the fortunes of the day had changed. Eight 
and left this strange knight laid about him, and his sword 
pierced the stoutest breast-plate, and the strongest shield. 
He was indeed ' a host in himself/ and his foes fled before 
him thinking he was only the first of a troop of such 
warriors, whom no one could withstand. When the 
battle was over, the king sent for him to thank him for 
his timely help, and to ask what reward he should give 
him. ' Nothing but your little finger, your Majesty/ was 
his answer ; and the king cut off his little finger and gave 
it to Paperarello, who bowed and hid it in his surcoat. 
Then he left the field, and when the soldiers rode back 
they found him still sitting in the road making whole 
rows of little clay dolls. 

The next day the king went out to fight another 

K 2 


battle, and again Paperarello appeared, mounted on his 
lame horse. As on the day before, he halted on the road, 
and sat down to make his clay soldiers ; then a second 
time he wished himself armour, sword, and a horse, all 
sharper and better than those he had previously had, and 
galloped after the rest. He was only just in time : the 
enemy had almost beaten the king's army back, and men 
whispered to each other that if the strange knight did not 
soon come to their aid, they would be all dead men. 
Suddenly someone cried : ' Hold on a little longer, I 
see him in the distance; and his armour shines brighter, 
and his horse runs swifter, than yesterday.' Then 
they took fresh heart and fought desperately on till the 
knight came up, and threw himself into the thick of 
the battle. As before, the enemy gave way before him, 
and in a few minutes the victory remained with the 

The first thing that the victor did was to send for the 
knight to thank him for his timely help, and to ask what 
gift he could bestow on him in token of gratitude. ' Your 
Majesty's ear,' answered the knight ; and as the king 
could not go back from his word, he cut it off and gave 
it to him. Paperarello bowed, fastened the ear inside 
his surcoat and rode away. In the evening, when they 
all returned from the battle, there he was, sitting in the 
road, making clay dolls. 

On the third day the same thing happened, and this 
time he asked for the king's nose as the reward of his aid. 
Now, to lose one's nose, is w T orse even than losing one's 
ear or one's finger, and the king hesitated as to whether 
he should comply. However, he had always prided him- 
self on being an honourable man, so he cut off his nose-, 
and handed it to Paperarello. Paperarello bowed, put 
the nose in his surcoat, and rode away. In the evening, 
when the king returned from the battle, he found 
Paperarello sitting in the road making clay dolls. And 
Paperarello got up and said to him : ' Do you know who 


I am ? I am your dirty goose-boy, yet you have given me 
your finger, and your ear, and your nose.' 

That night, when the king sat at dinner, Paperarello 
came in, and laying down the ear, and the nose, and the 
finger on the table, turned and said to the nobles and 
courtiers who were waiting on the king : ' I am the 
invincible knight, who rode three times to your help, 
and I also am a king's son, and no goose-boy as you all 
think.' And he went away and washed himself, and 
dressed himself in fine clothes and entered the hall again, 
looking so handsome that the proud princess fell in love 
with him on the spot. But Paperarello took no notice of 
her, and said to the king : ' It was kind of you to offer 
me your daughter in marriage, and for that I thank you ; 
but I have a wife at home whom I love better, and it is to 
her that I am going. But as a token of farewell, I wish 
that your ear, and nose, and finger may be restored to 
their proper places.' So saying, he bade them all good- 
bye, and went back to his home and his fairy bride, with 
whom he lived happily till the end of his life. 

[Prom SiciHdnisohen Mdhrchen.'] 



Once upon a time there was an old man who lived in a 
little hut in the middle of a forest. His wife was dead, 
and he had only one son, whom he loved dearly. Near 
their hut was a group of birch trees, in which some black- 
game had made their nests, and the youth had often 
begged his father's permission to shoot the birds, but the 
old man always strictly forbade him to do anything of 
the kind. 

One day, however, when the father had gone to a 
little distance to collect some sticks for the fire, the 
boy fetched his bow, and shot at a bird that was just 
flying towards its nest. But he had not taken proper 
aim, and the bird was only wounded, and fluttered along 
the ground. The boy ran to catch it, but though he 
ran very fast, and the bird seemed to flutter along very 
slowly, he never could quite come up with it ; it was 
always just a little in advance. But so absorbed was he 
in the chase that he did not notice for some time that he 
was now deep in the forest, in a place where he had never 
been before. Then he felt it would be foolish to go any 
further, and he turned to find his way home. 

He thought it would be easy enough to follow the 
path along which he had come, but somehow it was 
always branching off in unexpected directions. He looked 
about for a house where he might stop and ask his way, 
but there was not a sign of one anywhere, and he was 
afraid to stand still, for it was cold, and there were 
many stories of wolves being seen in that part of the 


forest. Night fell, and he was beginning to start at every 
sound, when suddenly a magician came running towards 
him, with a pack of wolves snapping at his heels. Then 
all the boy's courage returned to him. He took his 
bow, and aiming an arrow at the largest wolf, shot him 
through the heart, and a few more arrows soon put the 
rest to flight. The magician was full of gratitude to his 
deliverer, and promised him a reward for his help if the 
youth would go back with him to his house, 

1 Indeed there is nothing that would be more welcome 
to me than a night's lodging,' answered the boy ; ' I have 
been wandering all day in the forest, and did not know 
how to get home again. 

' Come with me, you must be hungry as well as tired,' 
said the magician, and led the way to his house, where 
the guest flung himself on a bed, and went fast asleep. 
But his host returned to the forest to get some food, for 
the larder was empty. 

While he was absent the housekeeper went to the boy's 
room and tried to wake him. She stamped on the floor, 
and shook him and called to him, telling him that he 
was in great danger, and must take flight at once. But 
nothing would rouse him, and if he did ever open his 
eyes he shut them again directly. 

Soon after, the magician came back from the forest, and 
told the housekeeper to bring them something to eat. The 
meal was quickly ready, and the magician called to the boy 
to come down and eat it, but he could not be wakened, and 
they had to sit down to supper without him. By-and-by 
the magician went out into the wood again for some more 
hunting, and on his return he tried afresh to waken the 
youth. But finding it quite impossible, he went back for 
the third time to the forest. 

While he was absent the boy woke up and dressed 
himself. Then he came downstairs and began to talk 
to the housekeeper. The girl had heard how he had 
saved her master's life, so she said nothing more about 


his running away, but instead told hiin that if the magician 
offered him the choice of a reward, he was to ask for 
the horse which stood in the third stall of the stable. 

By-and-by the old man came back and they all sat 
down to dinner. When they had finished the magician 
said : ' Now, my son, tell me what you will have as the 
reward of your courage ? ' 

' Give me the horse that stands in the third stall of 
your stable,' answered the youth. ' For I have a long 
way to go before I get home, and my feet will not carry 
me so far.' 

'Ah! my son,' replied the magician, 'it* is the best 
horse in my stable that you want ! Will not anything 
else please you as well ? ' 

But the youth declared that it was the horse, and 
the horse only, that he desired, and in the end the old 
man gave way. And besides the horse, the magician 
gave him a zither, a fiddle, and a flute, saying : ' If you 
are in danger, touch the zither ; and if no one comes to 
your aid, then play on the fiddle ; but if that brings no 
help, blow on the flute.' 

The youth thanked the magician, and fastening his 
treasures about him mounted the horse and rode off. He 
had already gone some miles when, to his great surprise, 
the horse spoke, and said : ' It is no use your returning 
home just now, your father will only beat you. Let us 
visit a few towns first, and something lucky will be sure 
to happen to us.' 

This advice pleased the boy, for he felt himself almost 
a man by this time, and thought it was high time he saw 
the world. When they entered the capital of the country 
everyone stopped to admire the beauty of the horse. 
Even the king heard of it, and came to see the splendid 
creature with his own eyes. Indeed, he wanted directly 
to buy it, and told the youth he would give any price he 
liked. The young man hesitated for a moment, but before 
he could speak, the horse contrived to whisper to him: 


' Do not sell me, but ask the king to take me to his 
stable, and feed me there; then his other horses will 
become just as beautiful as I.' 

The king was delighted when he was told what the 
horse had said, and took the animal at once to the stables, 
and placed it in his own particular stall. Sure enough, 
the horse had scarcely eaten a mouthful of corn out of 
the manger, when the rest of the horses seemed to have 
undergone a transformation. Some of them were old 
favourites which the king had ridden in many wars, and 
they bore the signs of age and of service. But now they 
arched their heads, and pawed the ground with their 
slender legs as they had been wont to do in days long 
gone by. The king's heart beat with delight, but the old 
groom who had had the care of them stood crossly by, 
and eyed the owner of this wonderful creature with 
hate and envy. Not a day passed without his bringing 
some story against the youth to his master, but the king 
understood all about the matter and paid no attention. 
At last the groom declared that the young man had 
boasted that he could find the king's war horse which had 
strayed into the forest several years ago, and had not 
been heard of since. Now the king had never ceased to 
mourn for his horse, so this time he listened to the tale 
which the groom had invented, and sent for the youth. 
1 Find me my horse in three days,' said he, ' or it will be 
the worse for you/ 

The youth was thunderstruck at this command, but he 
only bowed, and went off at once to the stable. 

1 Do not worry yourself,' answered his own horse. 
' Ask the king to give you a hundred oxen, and to let 
them be killed and cut into small pieces. Then we will 
start on our journey, and ride till we reach a certain 
river. There a horse will come up to you, but take no 
notice of him. Soon another will appear, and this also 
you must leave alone, but when the third horse shows 
itself, throw my bridle over it.' - - 


Everything happened just as the horse had said, and 
the third horse was safely bridled. Then the other horse 
spoke again : ' The magician's raven will try to eat us as 
we ride away, but throw it some of the oxen's flesh, and 
then I will gallop like the wind, and carry you safe out 
of the dragon's clutches.' 

So the young man did as he was told, and brought 
the horse back to the king. 

The old stableman was very jealous, when he heard 
of it, and wondered what he could do to injure the 
youth in the eyes of his royal master. At last he hit 
upon a plan, and told the king that the young man had 
boasted that he could bring home the king's wife, who 
had vanished many months before, without leaving a 
trace behind her. Then the king bade the young man 
come into his presence, and desired him to fetch the 
queen home again, as he had boasted he could do. And 
if he failed, his head would pay the penalty. 

The poor youth's heart stood still as he listened. 
Find the queen ? But how was he to do that, when 
nobody in the palace had been able to do so ! Slowly he 
walked to the stable, and laying his head on his horse's 
shoulder, he said : ' The king has ordered me to bring his 
wife home again, and how can I do that when she dis- 
appeared so long ago, and no one can tell me anything 
about her ? ' 

' Cheer up ! ' answered the horse, ' we will manage to 
find her. You have only got to ride me back to the same 
river that we went to yesterday, and I will plunge into 
it and take my proper shape again. For I am the king's 
wife, who was turned into a horse by the magician from 
whom you saved me.' 

Joyfully the young man sprang into the saddle and 
rode away to the banks of the river. Then he threw 
himself off, and waited while the horse plunged in. The 
moment it dipped its head into the water its black skin 
vanished, and the most beautiful woman in the world was 

for «* 



floating on the water. She came smiling towards the 
youth, and held out her hand, and he took it and led her 
back to the palace. Great was the king's surprise and 
happiness when he beheld his lost wife stand before him, 
and in gratitude to her rescuer he loaded him with gifts. 

You would have thought that after this the poor youth 
would have been left in peace ; but no, his enemy the 
stableman hated him as much as ever, and laid a new 
plot for his undoing. This time he presented himself 
before the king and told him that the youth was so 
puffed up with what he had done that he had declared he 
would seize the king's throne for himself. 

At this news the king waxed so furious that he ordered 
a gallows to be erected at once, and the young man to be 
hanged without a trial. He was not even allowed to speak 
in his own defence, but on the very steps of the gallows 
he sent a message to the king and begged, as a last 
favour, that he might play a tune on his zither. Leave 
was given him, and taking the instrument from under his 
cloak he touched the strings. Scarcely had the first 
notes sounded than the hangman and his helper began 
to dance, and the louder grew the music the higher they 
capered, till at last they cried for mercy. But the youth 
paid no heed, and the tunes rang out more merrily than 
before, and by the time the sun set they both sank on the 
ground exhausted, and declared that the hanging must be 
put off till to-morrow. 

The story of the zither soon spread through the town, 
and on the following morning the king and his whole 
court and a large crowd of people were gathered at the 
foot of the gallows to see the youth hanged. Once more he 
asked a favour — permission to play on his fiddle, and this 
the king was graciously pleased to grant. But with the 
first notes, the leg of every man in the crowd was lifted 
high, and they danced to the sound of the music the whole 
day till darkness fell, and there was no light to hang the 
musician by, 


The third day came, and the youth asked leave to play 
on his flute. ' No, no,' said the king, ' you made me 
dance all day yesterday, and if I do it again it will cer- 
tainly be my death. You shall play no more tunes. 
Quick ! the rope round his neck.' 

At these words the young man looked so sorrowful 
that the courtiers said to the king : ' He is very young 
to die. Let him play a tune if it will make him happy.' 
So, very unwillingly, the king gave him leave ; but first 
he had himself bound to a big fir tree, for fear that he 
should be made to dance. 

When he was made fast, the young man began to 
blow softly on his flute, and bound though he was, the 
king's body moved to the sound, up and down the fir tree 
till his clothes were in tatters, and the skin nearly rubbed 
off his back. But the youth had no pity, and went on 
blowing, till suddenly the old magician appeared and 
asked : ' What danger are you in, my son, that you have 
sent for me ? ' 

' They want to hang me,' answered the young man ; 
'the gallows are all ready and the hangman is only wait- 
ing for me to stop playing.' 

'Oh, I will put that right,' said the magician; and 
taking the gallows, he tore it up and flung it into the air, 
and no one knows where it came down. ' Who has 
ordered you to be hanged ? ' asked he. 

The young man pointed to the king, who was still 
bound to the fir ; and without wasting words the magician 
took hold of the tree also, and with a mighty heave both 
fir and man went spinning thrdugh the air, and vanished 
in the clouds after the gallows. 

Then the youth was declared to be free, and the people 
elected him for their king ; and the stable helper drowned 
himself from envy, for, after all, if it had not been for 
him the young man would have remained poor all the 
days of his life. 

[From Finnische Jfahrchen.] 



Once upon a time there lived a king who was so fond of 
wine that he could not go to sleep unless he knew he had 
a great flaskful tied to his bed-post. All day long he 
drank till he was too stupid to attend to his business, and 
everything in the kingdom went to rack and ruin. But 
one day an accident happened to him, and he was struck 
on the head by a falling bough, so that he fell from his 
horse and lay dead upon the ground. 

His wife and son mourned his loss bitterly, for, in 
spite of his faults, he had always been kind to them. So 
they abandoned the crown and forsook their country, not 
knowing or caring where they went. 

At length they wandered into a forest, and being very 
tired, sat down under a tree to eat some bread that 
they had brought with them. When they had finished 
the queen said : * My son, I am thirsty ; fetch me some 

The prince got up at once and went to a brook which 
he heard gurgling near at hand. He stooped and filled 
his hat with the water, which he brought to his mother ; 
then he turned and followed the stream up to its source 
.in a rock, where it bubbled out clear and fresh and cold. 
He knelt down to take a draught from the deep pool 
below the rock, when he saw the reflection of a sword 
hanging from the branch of a tree over his head. The 
young man drew back with a start ; but in a moment ho 
climbed the tree, cutting the rope which held the sword, 
and carried the weapon to his mother. 

C. L 


The queen was greatly surprised at the sight of any- 
thing so splendid in such a lonely place, and took it in 
her hands to examine it closely. It was of curious work- 
manship, wrought with gold, and on its handle was 
written : ' The man who can buckle on this sword will 
become stronger than other men.' The queen's heart 
swelled with joy as she read these words, and she bade 
her son lose no time in testing their truth. So he 
fastened it round his waist, and instantly a glow of 
strength seemed to run through his veins. He took hold 
of a thick oak tree and rooted it up as easily as if it had 
been a weed. 

This discovery put new life into the queen and her 
son, and they continued their walk through the forest. 
Bat night was drawing on, and the darkness grew so 
thick that it seemed as if it could be cut with a knife. 
They did not want to sleep in the wood, for they were 
afraid of wolves and other wild beasts, so they groped 
their way along, hand in hand, till the prince tripped 
over something which lay across the path. He could not 
see what it was, but stooped down and tried to lift it. The 
thing was very heavy, and he thought his back would break 
under the strain. At last with a great heave he moved it 
out of the road, and as it fell he knew it was a huge 
rock. Behind the rock was a cave which it was quite 
clear was the home of some robbers, though not one of 
the band was there. 

Hastily putting out the fire which burned brightly at 
the back, and bidding his mother come in and keep very 
still, the prince began to pace up and down, listening for 
the return of the robbers. Bat he was very sleepy, and 
in spite of all his efforts he felt he could not keep awake 
much longer, when he heard the sound of the robbers 
returning, shouting and singing as they marched along. 
Soon the singing ceased, and straining his ears he heard 
them discussing anxiously what had become of their cave, 
and why they could not see the fire as usual. 'This must 



be the place,' said a voice, which the prince took to be that 
of the captain. ' Yes, I feel the ditch before the entrance. 
Someone forgot to pile up the fire before we left and it 
has burnt itself out ! But it is all right. Let every man 
jump across, and as he does so cry out " Hop ! I am here." 
I will go last. Now begin.' 

The man who stood nearest jumped across, but he had 
no time to give the call which the captain had ordered, 
for with one swift, silent stroke of the prince's sword, his 
head rolled into a corner. Then the young man cried 
instead, ' Hop ! I am here.' 

The second man, hearing the signal, leapt the ditch 
in confidence, and was met by the same fate, and in a 
few minutes eleven of the robbers lay dead, and there 
remained only the captain. 

Now the captain had wound round his neck the shawl 
of his lost wife, and the stroke of the prince's sword fell 
harmless. Being very cunning, however, he made no 
resistance, and rolled over as if he were as dead as the 
other men. Still, the prince was no fool, and wondered if 
indeed he was as dead as he seemed to be ; but the captain 
lay so stiff and stark, that at last he was taken in. 

The prince next dragged the headless bodies into a 
chamber in the cave, and locked the door. Then he and 
his mother ransacked the place for some food, and when 
they had eaten it they lay dow T n and slept in peace. 

With the dawn they were both awake again, and 
found that, instead of the cave which they had come to 
the night before, they now were in a splendid castle, full 
of beautiful rooms. The prince went round all these and 
carefully locked them up, bidding his mother take care of 
the keys while he was hunting. 

Unfortunately, the queen, like all women, could not bear 
to think that there was anything which she did not know. 
So the moment that her son had turned his back, she 
opened the doors of all the rooms, and peeped in, till she 
came to the one where the robbers lay. But if the sight 


of the blood on the ground turned her faint, the sight 
of the robber captain walking up and down was a greater 
shock still. She quickly turned the key in the lock, and 
ran back to the chamber she had slept in. 

Soon after her son came in, bringing with him a large 
bear, which he had killed for supper. As there was 
enough food to last them for many days, the prince did 
not hunt the next morning, but, instead, began to explore 
the castle. He found that a secret way led from it into 
the forest ; and following the path, he reached another 
castle larger and more splendid than the one belonging 
to the robbers. He knocked at the door with his fist, and 
said that he wanted to enter ; but the giant, to whom the 
castle belonged, only answered : ' I know who you are. I 
have nothing to do with robbers.' 

1 1 am no robber,' answered the prince. ' I am the son 
of a king, and I have killed all the band. If you do not 
open to me at once I will break in the door, and your 
head shall go to join the others.' 

He waited a little, but the door remained shut as 
tightly as before. Then he just put his shoulder to it, and 
immediately the wood began to crack. When the giant 
found that it was no use keeping it shut, he opened it, 
saying : ' I see you are a brave youth. Let there be peace 
between us.' 

And the prince was glad to make peace, for he had 
caught a glimpse of the giant's beautiful daughter, and 
from that day he often sought the giant's house. 

Now the queen led a dull life all alone in the castle, 
and to amuse herself she paid visits to the robber captain, 
who flattered her till at last she agreed to marry him. 
But as she was much afraid of her son, she told the 
robber that the next time the prince went to bathe in the 
river, he was to steal the sword from its place above the 
bed, for without it the young man would have no power 
to punish him for his boldness. 

The robber captain thought this good counsel, and the 

-g.r\e -jfr-orvsr -PcLi-vce e n.t e »\y t.f\Q. C«iaKr\"fc''s C&^tie WHO-/Hj.F'oko.i»o^ 


next morning, when the young man went to bathe, he 
unhooked the sword from its nail and buckled it round 
his waist. On his return to the castle, the prince found 
the robber waiting for him on the steps, waving the 
sword above his head, and knowing that some horrible 
fate was in store, fell on his knees and begged for mercy. 
But he might as well have tried to squeeze blood out of a 
stone. The robber, indeed, granted him his life, but took 
out both his eyes, which he thrust into the prince's hand, 
saying brutally : 

' Here, you had better keep them ! You may find 
them useful ! ' 

Weeping, the blind youth felt his way to the giant's 
house, and told him all the story. 

The giant was full of pity for the poor young man, but 
inquired anxiously what he had done with the eyes. The 
prince drew them out of his pocket, and silently handed 
them to the giant, who washed them well, and then put 
them back in the prince's head. For three days he lay 
in utter darkness ; then the light began to come back, till 
soon he saw as well as ever. 

But though he could not rejoice enough over the 
recovery of his eyes, he bewailed bitterly the loss of his 
sword, and that it should have fallen to the lot of his 
bitter enemy. 

' Never mind, my friend,' said the giant, ' I will get it 
back for you.' And he sent for the monkey who was his 
head servant. 

' Tell the fox and the squirrel that they are to go with 
you, and fetch me back the prince's sword,' ordered he. 

The three servants set out at once, one seated on the 
back of the others, the ape, who disliked walking, being 
generally on top. Directly they came to the window of 
the robber captain's room, the monkey sprang from the 
backs of the fox and the squirrel, and climbed in. 
The room w T as empty, and the sword hanging from a 
nail. He took it down, and buckling it round his waist, 


as he had seen the prince do, swung himself down again, 
and mounting on the backs of his two companions, 
hastened to his master. The giant bade him give the 
sword to the prince, who girded himself with it, and 
returned with all speed to the castle. 

' Come out, you rascal ! come out, you villain ! ' cried 
he, ' and answer to me for the wrong you have done. I 
will show you who is the master in this house ! ' 

The noise he made brought the robber into the room. 
He glanced up to where the sword usually hung, but it 
was gone ; and instinctively he looked at the prince's 
hand, where he saw it gleaming brightly. In his turn he 
fell on his knees to beg for mercy, but it was too late. 
As he had done to the prince, so the prince did to him, and, 
blinded, he was thrust forth, and fell down a deep hole, 
where he is to this day. His mother the prince sent 
back to her father, and never would see her again. After 
this he returned to the giant, and said to him : 

' My friend, add one more kindness to those you have 
already heaped on me. Give me your daughter as my 

So they were married, and the wedding feast was so 
splendid that there was not a kingdom in the world that 
did not hear of it. And the prince never went back to 
his father's throne, but lived peacefully with his wife in 
the forest, where, if they are not dead, they are living 

[From Ungarische Volksmdrchen.] 



Once, long ago, in a little town that lay in the midst of 
high hills and wild forests, a party of shepherds sat one 
night in the kitchen of the inn talking over old times, and 
telling of the strange things that had befallen them in 
their youth. 

Presently up spoke the silver-haired Father Martin. 

' Comrades,' said he, ' you have had wonderful adven- 
tures ; but I will tell you something still more astonishing 
that happened to myself. When I was a young lad I had 
no home and no one to care for me, and I wandered from 
village to village all over the country with my knapsack 
on my back ; but as soon as I was old enough I took ser- 
vice with a shepherd in the mountains, and helped him 
for three years. One autumn evening as we drove the 
flock homeward ten sheep were missing, and the master 
bade me go and seek them in the forest. I took my dog 
with me, but he could find no trace of them, though we 
searched among the bushes till night fell ; and then, as I 
did not know the country and could not find my way 
home in the dark, I decided to sleep under a tree. At 
midnight my dog became uneasy, and began to whine and 
creep close to me with his tail between his legs ; by this 
I knew that something was wrong, and, looking about, I 
saw in the bright moonlight a figure standing beside me. 
It seemed to be a man with shaggy hair, and a long beard 
which hung down to his knees. He had a garland upon 
his head, and a girdle of oak-leaves about his body, and 
carried an uprooted fir-tree in his right hand. I shook 


like an aspen leaf at the sight, and my spirit quaked for 
fear. The strange being beckoned with his hand that I 
should follow him ; but as I did not stir from the spot he 
spoke in a hoarse, grating voice : " Take courage, faint- 
hearted shepherd. I am the Treasure Seeker of the 
mountain. If you will come with me you shall dig up 
much gold." 

1 Though I was still deadly cold with terror I plucked 
up my courage and said : " Get away from me, evil spirit ; 
I do not desire your treasures." 

1 At this the spectre grinned in my face and cried 
mockingly : 

'"Simpleton! Do you scorn your good fortune? 
Well, then, remain a ragamuffin all your days." 

' He turned as if to go away from me, then came back 
again and said : " Bethink yourself, bethink yourself, 
rogue. I will fill your knapsack — I will fill your pouch." 

' " Away from me, monster," I answered, " I will have 
nothing to do with you." 

' When the apparition saw that I gave no heed to him 
he ceased to urge me, saying only : " Some day you will 
rue this," and looked at me sadly. Then he cried : 
" Listen to what I say, and lay it well to heart, it may 
be of use to you when you come to your senses. A vast 
treasure of gold and precious stones lies in safety deep 
under the earth. At twilight and at high noon it is 
hidden, but at midnight it may be dug up. For seven 
hundred years have I watched over it, but now my time 
has come ; it is common property, let him find it who can. 
So I thought to give it into your hand, having a kindness 
for you because you feed your flock upon my mountain." 

' Thereupon the spectre told me exactly where the 
treasure lay, and how to find it. It might be only yester- 
day so well do I remember every word he spoke. 

1 " Go towards the little mountains," said he, " and ask 
there for the Black King's Valley, and when you come to 
a tiny brook follow the stream till you reach the stone 



bridge beside the saw-mill. Do not cross the bridge, but 
keep to your right along the bank till a high rock stands 
before you. A bow-shot from that you will discover a 
little hollow like a grave. When you find this hollow 
dig it out ; but it will be hard work, for the earth has 
been pressed down into it with care. Still, work away 
till you find solid rock on all sides of you, and soon you will 
come to a square slab of stone ; force it out of the wall, 
and you will stand at the entrance of the treasure house. 
Into this opening you must crawl, holding a lamp in your 
mouth. Keep your hands free lest you knock your nose 
against a stone, for the way is steep and the stones sharp. 
If it bruises your knees never mind ; you are on the road 
to fortune. Do not rest till you reach a wide stairway, 
down which you will go till you come out into a spacious 
hall, in which there are three, doors ; two of them stand 
open, the third is fastened with locks and bolts of iron. 
Do not go through the door to the right lest you disturb 
the bones of the lords of the treasure. Neither must 
you go through the door to the left, it leads to the snake's 
chamber, where adders and serpents lodge ; but open the 
fast-closed door by means of the well-known spring-root, 
which you must on no account forget to take with you, or 
all your trouble will be for naught, for no crowbar or 
mortal tools will help you. If you want to procure the 
root ask a wood-seller ; it is a common thing for hunters 
to need, and it is not hard to find. If the door bursts open 
suddenly with great crackings and groanings do not be 
afraid, the noise is caused by the power of the magic root, 
and you will not be hurt. Now trim your lamp that it may 
not fail you, for you will be nearly blinded by the flash 
and glitter of the gold and precious stones on the walls and 
pillars of the vault ; but beware how you stretch out a 
hand towards the jewels ! In the midst of the cavern 
stands a copper chest, in that you will find gold and 
silver, enough and to spare, and you may help yourself to 
your heart's content. If you take as much as you can 


carry you will have sufficient to last your lifetime, and 
you may return three times ; but woe betide you if you 
venture to come a fourth time. You would have your 
trouble for your pains, and would be punished for your 
greediness by falling down the stone steps and breaking 
your leg. Do not neglect each time to heap back the 
loose earth which concealed the entrance of the king's 
treasure chamber." 

' As the apparition left off speaking my dog pricked up 
his ears and began to bark. I heard the crack of a carter's 
whip and the noise of wheels in the distance, and when I 
looked again the spectre had disappeared.' 

So ended the shepherd's tale ; and the landlord who 
was listening with the rest, said shrewdly : 

' Tell us now, Father Martin, did you go to the 
mountain and find what the spirit promised you ; or is it 
a fable ? ' 

' Nay, nay,' answered the greybeard. ' I cannot tell 
if the spectre lied, for never a step did I go towards find- 
ing the hollow, for two reasons : — one was that my neck 
was too precious for me to risk it in such a snare as 
that ; the other, that no one could ever tell me where the 
spring-root was to be found.' 

Then Blaize, another aged shepherd, lifted up his 

' 'Tis a pity, Father Martin, that your secret has grown 
old with you. If you had told it forty years ago truly 
you would not long have been lacking the. spring-root. 
Even though you will never climb the mountain now, I 
will tell you, for a joke, how it is to be found. The 
easiest way to get it is by the help of a black woodpecker. 
Look, in the spring, where she builds her nest in a hole in 
a tree, and when the time comes for her brood to fly off 
block up the entrance to the nest with a hard sod, and 
lurk in ambush behind the tree till the bird returns to 
feed her nestlings. When she perceives that she cannot 
get into her nest she will fly round the tree uttering cries 


of distress, and then dart off towards the sun-setting. 
"When you see her do this, take a scarlet cloak, or if that 
be lacking to you, buy a few yards of scarlet cloth, and 
hurry back to the tree before the woodpecker returns wuth 
the spring-root in her beak. So soon as she touches 
with the root the sod that blocks the nest, it will fly 
violently out of the hole. Then spread the red cloth 
quickly under the tree, so that the woodpecker may think 
it is a fire, and in her terror drop the root. Some people 
really light a fire and strew spikenard blossoms in it ; but 
that is a clumsy method, for if the flames do not shoot 
up at the right moment aw r ay w T ill fly the woodpecker, 
carrying the root with her.' 

The party had listened with interest to this speech, 
but by the time it was ended the hour was late, and they 
went their ways homeward, leaving only one man who 
had sat unheeded in a corner the whole evening through. 

Master Peter Bloch had once been a prosperous inn- 
keeper, and a master- cook ; but he had gone steadily down 
in the world for some time, and was now quite poor. 

Formerly he had been a merry fellow, fond of a joke, 
and in the art of cooking had no equal in the town. He 
could make fish-jelly, and quince fritters, and even wafer- 
cakes ; and he gilded the ears of all his boars' heads. 
Peter had looked about him for a wife early in life, but 
unluckily his choice fell upon a woman whose evil tongue 
was well known in the town. Use was hated by every- 
body, and the young folks would go miles out of their w T ay 
rather than meet her, for she had some ill- word for every- 
one. Therefore, when Master Peter came along, and let 
himself be taken in by her boasted skill as a housewife, 
she jumped at his offer, and they were married the next 
day. But they had not got home before they began to 
quarrel. In the joy of his heart Peter had tasted freely 
of his own good wine, and as the bride hung upon his 
arm he stumbled and fell, dragging her down with him ; 
whereupon she beat him soundly, and the neighbours said 

c. m 


truly that things did not promise well for Master Peter's 
comfort. Even when the ill -matched couple were pre- 
sently blessed with children, his happiness was but short- 
lived, the savage temper of his quarrelsome wife seemed 
to blight them from the first, and they died like little 
kids in a cold winter. 

Though Master Peter had no great wealth to leave 
behind him, still it was sad to him to be childless ; and 
he would bemoan himself to his friends, when he laid one 
baby after another in the grave, saying : ' The lightning 
has been among the cherry-blossoms again, so there will 
be no fruit to grow ripe.' 

But, by-and-by, he had a little daughter so strong and 
healthy that neither her mother s temper nor her father's 
spoiling could keep her from growing up tall and beauti- 
ful. Meanwhile the fortunes of the family had changed. 
From his youth up, Master Peter had hated trouble ; when 
he had money he spent it freely, and fed all the hungry 
folk who asked him for bread. If his pockets were empty 
he borrowed of his neighbours, but he always took good 
care to prevent his scolding wife from finding out that he 
had done so. His motto was : ' It will all come right in 
the end ' ; but what it did come to was ruin for Master 
Peter. He was at his wits' end to know how to earn an 
honest living, for try as he might ill-luck seemed to 
pursue him, and he lost one post after another, till at last 
all he could do was to carry sacks of corn to the mill for 
his wife, who scolded him well if he was slow about it, 
and grudged him his portion of food. 

This grieved the tender heart of his pretty daughter, 
who loved him dearly, and was the comfort of his life. 

Peter was thinking of her as he sat in the inn kitchen 
and heard the shepherds talking about the buried trea- 
sure, and for her sake he resolved to go and seek for it. 
Before he rose from the landlord's arm-chair his plan 
was made, and Master Peter went nome more joyful 
and full of hope than be had been for many a long 


day ; but on the way he suddenly remembered that he 
was not yet possessed of the magic spring-root, and 
he stole into the house with a heavy heart, and threw 
himself down upon his hard straw bed. He could 
neither sleep nor rest ; but as soon as it was light he got 
up and wrote down exactly all that was to be done to find 
the treasure, that he might not forget anything, and when 
it lay clear and plain before his eyes he comforted 
himself with the thought that, though he must do the 
rough work for his wife during one more winter at least, 
he would not have to tread the path to the mill for the 
rest of his life. Soon he heard his wife's harsh voice 
singing its morning song as she went about her household 
affairs, scolding her daughter the while. She burst open 
his door while he was still dressing : * Well, Toper ! ' was 
her greeting, ' have you been drinking all night, wasting 
money that you steal from my housekeeping? For 
shame, drunkard ! ' 

Master Peter, who was well used to this sort of talk, 
did not disturb himself, but waited till the storm blew 
over, then he said calmly : 

' Do not be annoyed, dear wife. I have a good piece 
of business in hand which may turn out well for us.' 

' You with a good business ? ' cried she, ' you are good 
for nothing but talk 1 ' 

1 I am making my will,' said he, ' that when my hour 
comes my house may be in order.' 

These unexpected words cut his daughter to the heart ; 
she remembered that all night long she had dreamed of a 
newly dug grave, and at this thought she broke out into 
loud lamentations. But her mother only cried : ' Wretch ! 
have you not wasted goods and possessions, and now do 
you talk of making a will ? ' 

And she seized him like a fury, and tried to scratch 
out his eyes. But by-and-by the quarrel was patched up, 
and everything went on as before. From that day Peter 
saved up every penny that his daughter Lucia gave him 



on the sly, and bribed the boys of his acquaintance to spy 
out a black woodpecker's nest for him. He sent them 
into the woods and fields, but instead of looking for a 
nest they only played pranks on him. They led him 
miles over hill and vale, stock and stone, to find a raven's 
brood, or a nest of squirrels in a hollow tree, and when he 
was angry with them they laughed in his face and ran 
away. This went on for some time, but at last one 
of the boys spied out a woodpecker in the meadow-lands 
among the wood-pigeons, and when he had found her 
nest in a half-dead alder tree, came running to Peter with 
the news of his discovery. Peter could hardly believe his 
good fortune, and went quickly to see for himself if it was 
really true ; and when he reached the tree there certainly 
was a bird flying in and out as if she had a nest in it. 
Peter was overjoyed at this fortunate discovery, and 
instantly set himself to obtain a red cloak. Now in the 
whole town there was only one red cloak, and that 
belonged to a man of whom nobody ever willingly asked 
a favour — Master Hammerling the hangman. It cost 
Master Peter many struggles before he could bring him- 
self to visit such a person, but there was no help for it, 
and, little as he liked it, he ended by making his request 
to the hangman, who was flattered that so respectable a 
man as Peter should borrow his robe of office, and 
willingly lent it to him. 

Peter now had all that was necessary to secure the 
magic root ; he stopped up the entrance to the nest, and 
everything fell out exactly as Blaize had foretold. As 
soon as the woodpecker came back with the root in her 
beak out rushed Master Peter from behind the tree and 
displayed the fiery red cloak so adroitly that the terrified 
bird dropped the root just where it could be easily seen. 
All Peter's plans had succeeded, and he actually held in 
his hand the magic root — that master-key which would 
unlock all doors, and bring its possessor unheard-of luck. 
His thoughts now turned to the mountain, and he secretly 


made preparations for his journey. He took with him 
only a staff, a strong sack, and a little box which his 
daughter Lucia had given him. 

It happened that on the very day Peter had chosen 
for setting out, Lucia and her mother went off early 
to the town, leaving him to guard the house ; but in spite 
of that he was on the point of taking his departure 
when it occurred to him that it might be as well first to 
test the much-vaunted powers of the magic root for 
himself. Dame Use had a strong cupboard with seven 
locks built into the wall of her room, in which she kept 
all the money she had saved, and she wore the key of it 
always hung about her neck. Master Peter had no 
control at all of the money affairs of the household, so 
the contents of this secret hoard were quite unknown to 
him, and this seemed to be a good opportunity for finding 
out what they were. He held the magic root to the key- 
hole, and to his astonishment heard all the seven locks 
creaking and turning, the door flew suddenly wide open, 
and his greedy wife's store of gold pieces lay before his 
eyes. He stood still in sheer amazement, not knowing 
which to rejoice over most — this unexpected find, or the 
proof of the magic root's real power ; but at last he 
remembered that it was quite time to be starting on his 
journey. So, filling his pockets with the gold, he carefully 
locked the empty cupboard again and left the house with- 
out further delay. When Dame Use and her daughter 
returned they wondered to find the house door shut, and 
Master Peter nowhere to be . seen. They knocked and 
called, but nothing stirred within but the house cat, and 
at last the blacksmith had to be fetched to open the door. 
Then the house was searched from garret to cellar, but 
no Master Peter was to be found. 

* Who knows ? ' cried Dame Use at last, ' the wretch 
may have been idling in some tavern since early 

Then a sudden thought startled her, and she felt for 


her keys. Suppose they had fallen into her good-for- 
nothing husband's hands and he had helped himself to 
her treasure ! But no, the keys were safe in their usual 
place, and the cupboard looked quite untouched. Mid-day 
came, then evening, then midnight, and still no Master 
Peter appeared, and the matter became really serious. 
Dame Use knew right well what a torment she had been 
to her husband, and remorse caused her the gloomiest 

' Ah ! Lucia,' she cried, ' I greatly fear that your 
father has done himself a mischief.' And they sat till 
morning weeping over their own fancies. 

As soon as it was light they searched every corner of 
the house again, and examined every nail in the wall and 
every beam ; but, luckily, Master Peter was not hanging 
from any of them. After that the neighbours went out 
with long poles to fish in every ditch and pond, but they 
found nothing, and then Dame Use gave up the idea of 
ever seeing her husband again and very soon consoled 
herself, only wondering how the sacks of corn were to 
be carried to the mill in future. She decided to buy a 
strong ass to do the work, and having chosen one, and after 
some bargaining with the owner as to its price, she went 
to the cupboard in the wall to fetch the money. But what 
were her feelings when she perceived that every shelf lay 
empty and bare before her! For a moment she stood 
bewildered, then broke into such frightful ravings that 
Lucia ran to her in alarm ; but as soon as she heard of 
the disappearance of the money she was heartily glad, 
and no longer feared that her father had come to any 
harm, but understood that he must have gone out into the 
world to seek his fortune in some new way. 

About a month after this, someone knocked at Dame 
Use's door one day, and she went to see if it was a 
customer for meal ; but in stepped a handsome young man, 
dressed like a duke's son, who greeted her respectfully, and 
asked after her pretty daughter as if he were an old friend, 


though she could not remember having ever set eyes 
upon him before. 

However, she invited him to step into the house and 
be seated while he unfolded his business. With a great 
air of mystery he begged permission to speak to the fair 
Lucia, of whose skill in needlework he had heard so much, 
as he 'had a commission to give her. Dame Use had her 
own opinion as to what kind of commission it was likely 
to be — brought by a young stranger to a pretty maiden ; 
however, as the meeting would be under her own eye, she 
made no objection, but called to her industrious daughter, 
who left off working and came obediently ; but when she 
saw the stranger she stopped short, blushing, and casting 
down her eyes. He looked at her fondly, and took her 
hand, which she tried to draw away, crying : 

' Ah ! Friedlin, why are you here ? I thought you 
were a hundred miles away. Are you come to grieve me 
again ? ' 

1 No, dearest girl,' answered he ; 'I am come to 
complete your happiness and my own. Since we last 
met my fortune has utterly changed ; I am no longer 
the poor vagabond that I was then. My rich uncle has 
died, leaving me money and goods in plenty, so that I 
dare to present n^self to your mother as a suitor for 
your hand. That I love you I know well ; if you can love 
me I am indeed a happy man.' 

Lucia's pretty blue eyes had looked up shyly as he 
spoke, and now a smile parted her rosy lips ; and she stole 
a glance at her mother to see what she thought about it 
all ; but the dame stood lost in amazement to find that her 
daughter, whom she could have declared had never been 
out of her sight, was already well acquainted with the 
handsome stranger, and quite willing to be his bride. 
Before she had done staring, this hasty wooer had 
smoothed his way by covering the shining table with gold 
pieces as a wedding gift to the bride's mother, and had 
tilled Lucia's apron into the bargain ; after which the 


dame made no difficulties, and the matter was speedily 

While Use gathered up the gold and hid it away 
safely, the lovers whispered together, and what Friedlin 
told her seemed to make Lucia every moment more happy 
and contented. 

Now a great hurly-burly began in the house, and pre- 
parations for the wedding went on apace. A few days 
later a heavily laden waggon drove up, and out of it came 
so many boxes and bales that Dame Use was lost in 
wonder at the wealth of her future son-in-law. The day 
for the wedding was chosen, and all their friends and 
neighbours were bidden to the feast. As Lucia was 
trying on her bridal wreath she said to her mother : ' This 
wedding-garland would please me indeed if father Peter 
could lead me to the church. If only he could come 
back again ! Here we are rolling in riches while he may 
be nibbling at hunger's table.' And the very idea of such 
a thing made her weep, while even Dame Use said : 

1 1 should not be sorry myself to see him come back — 
there is always something lacking in a house when the 
good man is away.' 

But the fact was that she was growing quite tired of 
having no one to scold. And what do you think hap- 
pened ? 

On the very eve of the wedding a man pushing a 
wheelbarrow arrived at the city gate, and paid toll upon a 
barrel of nails which it contained, and then made the best 
of his way to the bride's dwelling and knocked at the 

The bride herself peeped out of the window to see who 
it could be, and there stood father Peter! Then there 
was great rejoicing in the house ; Lucia ran to embrace 
him, and even Dame Use held out her hand in welcome, 
and only said : ' Eogue, mend your ways,' when she 
remembered the empty treasure cupboard. Father Peter 
greeted the bridegroom, looking at him shrewdly, while 


the mother and daughter hastened to say all they knew in 
his favour, and appeared to be satisfied with him as a 
son-in-law. When Dame Use had set something to eat 
before her husband, she was curious to hear his adven- 
tures, and questioned him eagerly as to why he had gone 

' God bless my native place,' said he. ' I have been 
marching through the country, and have tried every kind 
of work, but now I have found a job in the iron trade ; 
only, so far, I have put more into it than I have earned 
by it. This barrel of nails is my whole fortune, which 
I wish to give as my contribution towards the bride's 
house furnishing.' 

This speech roused Dame Use to anger, and she broke 
out into such shrill reproaches that the bystanders were 
fairly deafened, and Friedlin hastily offered Master Peter 
a home with Lucia and himself, promising that he should 
live in comfort, and be always welcome. So Lucia had 
her heart's desire, and father Peter led her to the church 
next day, and the marriage took place very happily. 
Soon afterwards the young people settled in a fine house 
which Friedlin had bought, and had a garden and 
meadows, a fishpond, and a hill covered with vines, and 
were as happy as the day was long. Father Peter also 
stayed quietly with them, living, as everybody believed, 
upon the generosity of his rich son-in law. No one 
suspected that his barrel of nails was the real ' Horn of 
Plenty,' from which all this prosperity overflowed. 

Peter had made the journey to the treasure mountain 
successfully, without being found out by anybody. He 
had enjoyed himself by the way, and taken his own time, 
until he actually reached the little brook in the valley 
which it had cost him some trouble to find. Then he 
pressed on eagerly, and soon came to the little hollow in 
the wood ; down he went, burrowing like a mole into the 
earth ; the magic root did its work, and at last the treasure 
lay before his eyes. You may imagine how gaily Peter 


filled his sack with as much gold as he could carry, and 
how he staggered up the seventy-seven steps with a heart 
full of hope and delight. He did not quite trust the 
gnome's promises of safety, and was in such haste to find 
himself once more in the light of day that he looked 
neither to the right nor the left, and could not afterwards 
remember whether the walls and pillars had sparkled 
with jewels or not. 

However, all went well — he neither saw nor heard 
anything alarming ; the only thing that happened was that 
the great iron-barred door shut with a crash as soon as 
he was fairly outside it, and then he remembered that he 
had left the magic root behind him, so he could not go 
back for another load of treasure. But even that did not 
trouble Peter much ; he was quite satisfied with what 
he had already. After he had faithfully done everything 
according to Father Martin's instructions, and pressed 
the earth well back into the hollow, he sat down to con- 
sider how he could bring his treasure back to his native 
place, and enjoy it there, without being forced to share it 
with his scolding wife, who would give him no peace if 
she once found out about it. At last, after much think- 
ing, he hit upon a plan. He carried his sack to the 
nearest village, and there bought a wheelbarrow, a strong 
barrel, and a quantity of nails. Then he packed his gold 
into the barrel, covered it well with a layer of nails, 
hoisted it on to the wheelbarrow with some difficulty, and 
set off with it upon his homeward way. At one place 
upon the road he met a handsome young man who seemed 
by his downcast air to be in some great trouble. Father 
Peter, who wished everybody to be as happy as he was 
himself, greeted him cheerfully, and asked where he was 
going, to which he answered sadly : 

' Into the wide world, good father, or out of it, where- 
ever my feet may chance to carry me.' 

' Why out of it ? ' said Peter. ' What has the world 
been doing to you ? ' 


' It has done nothing to me, nor I to it,' he replied. 
' Nevertheless there is not anything left in it for me.' 

Father Peter did his best to cheer the young man up, 
and invited him to sup with him at the first inn they 
came to, thinking that perhaps hunger and poverty were 
causing the stranger's trouble. But when good food was 
set before him he seemed to forget to eat. So Peter per- 
ceived that what ailed his guest was sorrow of heart, and 
asked him kindly to tell him his story. 

' Where is the good, father ? ' said he. ' You can give 
me neither help nor comfort.' 

' Who knows ?' answered Master Peter. 'I might be 
able to do something for you. Often enough in life help 
comes to us from the most unexpected quarter.' 

The young man, thus encouraged, began his tale. 

' I am,' said he, i a crossbow-man in the service of a 
noble count, in whose castle I was brought up. Not long 
ago my master went on a journey, and brought back with 
him, amongst other treasures, the portrait of a fair maiden 
so sweet and lovely that I lost my heart at first sight of 
it, and could think of nothing but how I might seek her 
out and marry her. The count had told me her name, 
and where she lived, but laughed at my love, and abso- 
lutely refused to give me leave to go in search of her, so I 
was forced to run away from the castle by night. I soon 
reached the little town where the maiden dwelt ; but 
there fresh difficulties awaited me. She lived under the 
care of her mother, who was so severe that she was never 
allowed to look out of the window, or set her foot outside 
the door alone, and how to make friends with her I did 
not know. But at last I dressed myself as an old woman, 
and knocked boldly at her door. The lovely maiden her- 
self opened it, and so charmed me that I came near for- 
getting my disguise ; but I soon recovered my wits, and 
begged her to work a fine table-cloth for me, for she is 
reported to be the best needlewoman in all the country 
round. Now I was free to go and see her often under the 


pretence of seeing how the work was going on, and one 
day, when her mother had gone to the town, I ventured 
to throw off my disguise, and tell her of my love. She 
was startled at first ; but I persuaded her to listen to me, 
and I soon saw that I was not displeasing to her, though 
she scolded me gently for my disobedience to my master, 
and my deceit in disguising myself. But when I begged 
her to many me, she told me sadly that her mother would 
scorn a penniless wooer, and implored me to go away at 
once, lest trouble should fall upon her. 

' Bitter as it was to me, I was forced to go when she 
bade me, and I have wandered about ever since, with grief 
gnawing at my heart ; for how can a masterless man, 
without money or goods, ever hope to win the lovely 
Lucia ? ' 

Master Peter, who had been listening attentively, 
pricked up his ears at the sound of his daughter's name, 
and very soon found out that it was indeed with her that 
this young man was so deeply in love. 

1 Your story is strange indeed,' said he. ' But where 
is the father of this maiden — why do you not ask him 
for her hand? He might well take your part, and be 
glad to have you for his son-in-law.' 

' x\las ! ' said the young man, ' her father is a wander- 
ing good-for-naught, who has forsaken wife and child, and 
gone off — who knows where ? The wife complains of him 
bitterly enough, and scolds my dear maiden when she 
takes her father's part.' 

Father Peter was somewhat amused by this speech ; 
but he liked the young man well, and saw that he was 
the very person he needed to enable him to enjoy his 
wealth in peace, without being separated from his dear 

1 If you will take my advice,' said he, ' I promise you 
that you shall many this maiden whom you love so much, 
and that before you are many days older.' 

' Comrade,' cried Friedlin indignantly, for he thought 


Peter did but jest with him, ' it is ill done to mock at an 
unhappy man ; you had better find someone else who will 
let himself be taken in with your fine promises.' And up 
he sprang, and was going off hastily, when Master Peter 
caught him by the arm. 

1 Stay, hothead ! ' he cried ; t it is no jest, and I am 
prepared to make good my words.' 

Thereupon he showed him the treasure hidden under 
the nails, and unfolded to him his plan, which was that 
Friedlin should play the part of the rich son-in-law, and 
keep a still tongue, that they might enjoy their wealth 
together in peace. 

The young man was overjoyed at this sudden change 
in his fortunes, and did not know how to thank father 
Peter for his generosity. They took the road again at 
dawn the next morning, and soon reached a town, where 
Friedlin equipped himself as a gallant wooer should. 
Father Peter filled his pockets with gold for the wedding 
dowry, and agreed with him that when all was settled he 
should secretly send him word that Peter might send off 
the waggon load of house plenishings with which the 
rich bridegroom was to make such a stir in the little town 
where the bride lived. As they parted, father Peter's 
last commands to Friedlin were to guard well their secret, 
and not even to tell it to Lucia till she was his wife. 

Master Peter long enjoyed the profits of his journey 
to the mountain, and no rumour of it ever got abroad. In 
his old age his prosperity was so great that he himself 
did not know how rich he was ; but it was always sup- 
posed that the money was Friedlin's. He and his beloved 
wife lived in the greatest happiness and peace, and rose 
to great honour in the town. And to this day, when the 
citizens wish to describe a wealthy man, they say : ' As 
rich as Peter Bloch's son-in-law ! ' 



Once upon a time there lived an old man and his wife 
in a dirty, tumble-down cottage, not very far from the 
splendid palace where the king and queen dwelt. In 
spite of the wretched state of the hut, which many people 
declared was too bad even for a pig to live in, the old 
man was very rich, for he was a great miser, and lucky 
besides, and would often go without food all day sooner 
than change one of his beloved gold pieces. 

But after a while he found that he had starved himself 
once too often. He fell ill, and had no strength to get 
well again, and in a few days he died, leaving his wife 
and one son behind him. 

The night following his death, the son dreamed that 
an unknown man appeared to him and said : ' Listen to 
me ; your father is dead and your mother will soon die, 
and all their riches will belong to you. Half of his wealth 
is ill-gotten, and this you must give back to the poor from 
whom he squeezed it. The other half you must throw 
into the sea. Watch, however, as the money sinks into 
the water, and if anything should swim, catch it and keep 
it, even if it is nothing more than a bit of paper/ 

Then the man vanished, and the youth awoke. 

The remembrance of his dream troubled him greatly. 
He did not want to part with the riches that his father had 
left him, for he had known all his life what it was to be 
cold and hungry, and now he had hoped for a little com- 
fort and pleasure. Still, he was honest and good-hearted, 
and if his father had come wrongfully by his wealth he 


felt he could never enjoy it, and at last he made up his 
mind to do as he had been bidden. He found out who 
were the people who were poorest in the village, and spent 
half of his money in helping them, and the other half he 
put in his pocket. From a rock that jutted right out 
into the sea he flung it in. In a moment it was out of 
sight, and no man could have told the spot where it had 
sunk, except for a tiny scrap of paper floating on the 
water. He stretched down carefully and managed to 
reach it, and on opening it found six shillings wrapped 
inside. This was now all the money he had in the 

The young man stood and looked at it thoughtfully. 
' Well, I can't do much with this,' he said to himself ; but, 
after all, six shillings were better than nothing, and he 
wrapped them up again and slipped them into his coat. 

He worked in his garden for the next few weeks, and 
he and his mother contrived to live on the fruit and 
vegetables he got out of it, and then she too died suddenly. 
The poor fellow T felt very sad when he had laid her in 
her grave, and with a heavy heart he wandered into the 
forest, not knowing where he w r as going. By-and-by he 
began to get hungry, and seeing a small hut in front of 
him, he knocked at the door and asked if they could give 
him some milk. The old woman who opened it begged 
him to come in, adding kindly, that if he wanted a night's 
lodging he might have it without its costing him anything. 

Two women and three men were at supper when he 
entered, and silently made room for him to sit down by 
them. When he had eaten he began to look about him, 
and was surprised to see an animal sitting by the fire 
different from anything he had ever noticed before. It 
was grey in colour, and not very big ; but its eyes w T ere 
large and very bright, and it seemed to be singing in an 
odd way, quite unlike any animal in the forest. ' What 
is the name of that strange little creature ? ' asked he. 
And they answered, ' We call it a cat.' 


' I should like to buy it —if it is not too clear,' said the 
young man ; ' it would be company for me/ And they told 
him that he might have it for six shillings, if he cared to 
give so much. The young man took out his precious bit 
of paper, handed them the six shillings, and the next 
morning bade them farewell, with the cat lying snugly in 
his cloak. 

For the whole day they wandered through meadows 
and forests, till in the evening they reached a house. 
The young fellow knocked at the door and asked the old 
man who opened it if he could rest there that night, 
adding that he had no money to pay for it. ' Then I 
must give it to you,' answered the man, and led him into 
a room where two women and two men were sitting at 
supper. One of the women was the old man's wife, the 
other his daughter. He placed the cat on the mantel- 
shelf, and they all crowded round to examine this strange 
beast, and the cat rubbed itself against them, and held 
out its paw, and sang to them ; and the women were de- 
lighted, and gave it everything that a cat could eat, and a 
great deal more besides. 

After hearing the youth's story, and how he had 
nothing in the world left him except his cat, the old man 
advised him to go to the palace, which was only a few 
miles distant, and take counsel of the king, who was kind 
to everyone, and would certainly be his friend. The 
young man thanked him, and said he would gladly take 
his advice ; and early next morning he set out for the royal 

He sent a message to the king to beg for an audience, 
and received a reply that he was to go into the great hall, 
where he would find his Majesty. 

The king was at dinner with his court when the young 
man entered, and he signed to him to come near. The youth 
bowed low, and then gazed in surprise at the crowd of 
little black creatures who were running about the floor, 
and even on the table itself. Indeed, they were so bold 


that they snatched pieces of food from the King's own 
plate, and if he drove them away, tried to bite his hands, 
so that he could not eat his food, and his courtiers fared 
no better. 

1 What sort of animals are these ? ' asked the youth of 
one of the ladies sitting near him. 

1 They are called rats,' answered the king, who had 
overheard the question, ' and for years we have tried some 
way of putting an end to them, but it is impossible. They 
come into our very beds.' 

At this moment something was seen flying through 
the air. The cat was on the table, and with two or three 
shakes a number of rats were lying dead round him. 
Then a great scuffling of feet was heard, and in a few 
minutes the hall was clear. 

For some minutes the King and his courtiers only 
looked at each other in astonishment. ' What kind of 
animal is that which can work magic of this sort ? ' asked 
he. And the young man told him that it was called a cat, 
and that he had bought it for six shillings. 

And the King answered : ' Because of the luck you have 
brought me, in freeing my palace from the plague which 
has tormented me for many years, I will give you the 
choice of two things. Either you shall be my Prime 
Minister, or else you shall marry my daughter and reign 
after me. Say, which shall it be ? ' 

1 The princess and the kingdom,' said the young man. 

And so it was. 

[From hlandische Mcirohea.'] 




Once upon a time, in the very middle of the middle of 
a large kingdom, there was a town, and in the town a 
palace, and in the palace a king. This king had one son 
whom his father thought was wiser and cleverer than any 
son ever was before, and indeed his father had spared no 
pains to make him so. He had been very careful in choosing 
his tutors and governors when he was a boy, and when 
he became a youth he sent him to travel, so that he 
might see the ways of other people, and find that they 
were often as good as his own. 

It was now a year since the prince had returned 
home, for his father felt that it was time that his son 
should learn how to rule the kingdom which would one 
day be his. But during his long absence the prince 
seemed to have changed his character altogether. From 
being a merry and light-hearted boy, he had grown into 
a gloomy and thoughtful man. The king knew of 
nothing that could have produced such an alteration. 
He vexed himself about it from morning till night, till at 
length an explanation occurred to him — the young man 
was in love ! 

Now the prince never talked about his feelings — for 
the matter of that he scarcely talked at all ; and the 
father knew that if he was to come to the bottom of the 
prince's dismal face, he would have to begin. So one 
day, after dinner, he took his son by the arm and led him 


into another room, hung entirely with the pictures of 
heautiful maidens, each one more lovely than the other. 

1 My dear boy,' he said, ' you are very sad ; perhaps 
after all your wanderings it is dull for you here all alone 
with me. It would be much better if you would marry, 
and I have collected here the portraits of the most 
beautiful women in the world of a rank equal to your 
own. Choose which among them you would like for a 
wife, and I will send an embassy to her father to ask for 
her hand.' 

I Alas ! your Majesty,' answered the prince, ' it is not 
love or marriage that makes me so gloomy; but the 
thought, which haunts me day and night, that all men, 
even kings, must die. Never shall I be happy again till 
I have found a kingdom where death is unknown. And 
I have determined to give myself no rest till I have dis- 
covered the Land of Immortality. 

The old king heard him with dismay ; things were 
worse than he thought. He tried to reason with his son, 
and told him that during all these years he had been 
looking forward to his return, in order to resign his 
throne and its cares, which pressed so heavily upon him. 
But it was in vain that he talked ; the prince would 
listen to nothing, and the following morning buckled on 
his sword and set forth on his journey. 

He had been travelling for many days, and had left 
his fatherland behind him, when close to the road he 
came upon a huge tree, and on its topmost bough an 
eagle was sitting shaking the branches with all his might. 
This seemed so strange and so unlike an eagle, that the 
prince stood still with surprise, and the bird saw him and 
flew to the ground. The moment its feet touched the 
ground he changed into a king. 

' Why do you look so astonished ? ' he asked. 

' I was wondering why you shook the boughs so 
fiercely,' answered the prince. 

I I am condemned to do this, for neither I nor any of 



my kindred can die till I have rooted up this great tree,' 
replied the king of the eagles. ' But it is now evening, 
and I need work no more to-day. Come to my house 
with me, and be my guest for the night.' 

The prince accepted gratefully the eagle's invitation, 
for he was tired and hungry. They were received at the 
palace by the king's beautiful daughter, who gave orders 
that dinner should be laid for them at once. While they 
were eating, the eagle questioned his guest about his 
travels, and if he was wandering for pleasure's sake, or 
with any special aim. Then the prince told him every- 
thing, and how he could never turn back till he had 
discovered the Land of Immortality. 

' Dear brother,' said the eagle, * you have discovered it 
already, and it rejoices my heart to think that you will 
stay with us. Have you not just heard me say that 
death has no power either over myself or any of my 
kindred till that great tree is rooted up ? It will take me 
six hundred years' hard work to do that ; so marry my 
daughter and let us all live happily together here. After 
all, six hundred years is an eternity ! ' 

1 Ah, dear king,' replied the young man, ' your offer 
is very tempting ! But at the end of six hundred years we 
should have to die, so we should be no better off! No, I 
must go on till I find the country where there is no death 
at all.' 

Then the princess spoke, and tried to persuade the guest 
to change his mind, but he sorrowfully shook his head. At 
length, seeing that his resolution was firmly fixed, she 
took from a cabinet a little box which contained her 
picture, and gave it to him saying : 

1 As you will not stay with us, prince, accept this box, 
which will sometimes recall us to your memory. If you 
are tired of travelling before you come to the Land of 
Immortality, open this box and look at my picture, and 
you will be borne along either on earth or in the air, 
quick as thought, or swift as the whirlwind.' 


The prince thanked her for her gift, which he placed 
in his tunic, and sorrowfully bade the eagle and his 
daughter farewell. 

Never was any present in the world as useful as that 

TSnz B&idne&ded coarion^e noumair\AS> 


little box, and many times did he bless the kind thought 
of the princess. One evening it had carried him to the 
top of a high mountain, where he saw a man with a bald 
head, busily engaged in digging up spadefuls of earth and 
throwing them in a basket. When the basket was full he 
took it away and returned with an empty one, which he 
likewise filled. The prince stood and watched him for a 
little, till the bald-headed man looked up and said to him : 
' Dear brother, what surprises you so much ? ' 

' I was wondering why you were filling the basket,' 
replied the prince. 

1 Oh ! ' replied the man, ' I am condemned to do this, 
for neither I nor any of my family can die till I have dug 
away the whole of this mountain and made it level with 
the plain. But, come, it is almost dark, and I shall work 
no longer,' And he plucked a leaf from a tree close by, 
and from a rough digger he was changed into a stately 
bald-headed king. ' Come home with me,' he added ; ' you 
must be tired and hungry, and my daughter will have 
supper ready for us.' The prince accepted gladly, and 
they went back to the palace, where the bald-headed 
king's daughter, who was still more beautiful than the 
other princess, welcomed them at the door and led the 
way into a large hall and to a table covered with silver 
dishes. While they were eating, the bald-headed king 
asked the prince how he had happened to wander so far, 
and the young man told him all about it, and how he was 
seeking the Land of Immortality. ' You have found it 
already,' answered the king, ' for, as I said, neither I nor 
my family can die till I have levelled this great mountain ; 
and that will take full eight hundred years longer. Stay 
here with us and marry my daughter. Eight hundred 
years is surely long enough to live.' 

' Oh, certainly,' answered the prince ; ' but, all the same, 
I would rather go and seek the land where there is no 
death at all.' 

So next morning he bade them farewell, though the 


princess begged him to stay with all her might ; and 
when she found that she could not persuade him she gave 
him as a remembrance a gold ring. This ring was still 
more useful than the box, because when one wished one- 
self at any place one was there directly, without even 
the trouble of flying to it through the air. The prince 
put it on his ringer, and thanking her heartily, went his 

He walked on for some distance, and then he recollected 
the ring and thought he would try if the princess had 
spoken truly as to its powers. ' I wish I was at the end 
of the world,' he said, shutting his eyes, and when he 
opened them he was standing in a street full of marble 
palaces. The men who passed him were tall and strong, 
and their clothes were magnificent. He stopped some of 
them and asked in all the twenty-seven languages he 
knew what was the name of the city, but no one answered 
him. Then his heart sank within him ; what should he 
do in this strange place if nobody could understand any- 
thing ? he said. Suddenly his eyes fell upon a man dressed 
after the fashion of his native country, and he ran up to 
him and spoke to him in his own tongue. ' What city is 
this, my friend ? ' he inquired. 

1 It is the capital city of the Blue Kingdom,' replied 
the man, ' but the king himself is dead, and his daughter 
is now the ruler.' 

With this news the prince was satisfied, and begged 
his countryman to show him the way to the young 
queen's palace. The man led him through several streets 
into a large square, one side of which was occupied by a 
splendid building that seemed borne up on slender pillars 
of soft green marble. In front was a flight of steps, and 
on these the queen was sitting wrapped in a veil of 
shining silver mist, listening to the complaints of her 
people and dealing out justice. When the prince came 
up she saw directly that he was no ordinary man, and 
telling her chamberlain to dismiss the rest of her petitioners 


for that day, she signed to the prince to follow her into 
the palace. Luckily she had been taught his language as 
a child, so they had no difficulty in talking together. 

The prince told all his story and how he was journey- 
ing in search of the Land of Immortality. When he had 
finished, the princess, who had listened attentively, rose, 
and taking his arm, led him to the door of another room, 
the floor of which was made entirely of needles, stuck so 
close together that there was not room for a single needle 

1 Prince", * she said, turning to him, ' you see these 
needles ? Well, know that neither I nor any of my 
family can die till I have worn out these needles in 
sewing. It will take at least a thousand years for that. 
Stay here, and share my throne ; a thousand years is long 
enough to live ! ' 

* Certainly,' answered he; 'still, at the end of the 
thousand years I should have to die ! No, I must find 
the land where there is no death.' 

The queen did all she could to persuade him to stay, 
but as her words proved useless,' at length she gave it up. 
Then she said to him : ' As you will not stay, take this 
little golden rod as a remembrance of me. It has the 
power to become anything you wish it to be, when you 
are in need.' 

So the prince thanked her, and putting the rod in his 
pocket, went his way. 

Scarcely had he left the town behind him when he 
came to a broad river which no man might pass, for he 
was standing at the end of the world, and this was the 
river which flowed round it. Not knowing what to do 
next, he walked a little distance up the bank, and there, 
over his head, a beautiful city was floating in the air. 
He longed to get to it, but how ? neither road nor bridge 
was anywhere to be seen, yet the city drew him upwards, 
and he felt that here at last was the country which he 
sought. Suddenly he remembered the golden rod which 



the mist-veiled queen had given him. With a beating 
heart he flung it to the ground, wishing with all his 
might that it should turn into a bridge, and fearing that, 
after all, this might prove beyond its power. But no, 
instead of the rod, there stood a golden ladder, leading 
straight up to the city of the air. He was about to enter 
the golden gates, when there sprang at him a wondrous 
beast, whose like he had never seen. * Out sword from 
the sheath,' cried the prince, springing back with a cry. 
And the sword leapt from the scabbard and cut off some 
of the monster's heads, but others grew again directly, so 
that the prince, pale with terror, stood where he was, 
calling for help, and put his sword back in the sheath 

The queen of the city heard the noise and looked from 
her window to see what was happening. Summoning 
one of her servants, she bade him go and rescue the 
stranger, and bring him to her. The prince thankfully 
obeyed her orders, and entered her presence. 

The moment she looked at him, the queen also felt 
that he was no ordinary man, and she welcomed him 
graciously, and asked him what had brought him to the 
city. In answer the prince told all his story, and how 
he had travelled long and far in search of the Land of 

' You have found it,' said she, ' for I am queen over 
life and over death. Here you can dwell among the 

A thousand years had passed since the prince first 
entered the city, but they had flown so fast that the time 
seemed no more than six months. There had not been 
one instant of the thousand years that the prince was not 
happy till one night when he dreamed of his father and 
mother. Then the longing for his home came upon him 
with a rush, and in the morning he told the Queen of 
the Immortals that he must go and see his .father and 


mother once more. The queen stared at him with amaze- 
ment, and cried : ' Why, prince, are you out of your 
senses ? It is more than eight hundred years since your 
father and mother died ! There will not even be their 
dust remaining.' 

*'I must go all the same,' said he. 

' Well, do not be in a hurry,' continued the queen, 
understanding that he would not be prevented. * Wait 
till I make some preparations for your journey.' So she 
unlocked her great treasure chest, and took out two 
beautiful flasks, one of gold and one of silver, which she 
hung round his neck. Then she showed him a little 
trap-door in one corner of the room, and said : ' Fill the 
silver flask with this water, which is below the trap-door. 
It is enchanted, and whoever you sprinkle with the water 
will become a dead man at once, even if he had lived a 
thousand years. The golden flask you must fill with the 
water here,' she added, pointing to a well in another 
corner. ' It springs from the rock of eternity ; you 
have only to sprinkle a few drops on a body and it 
will come to life again, if it had been a thousand years 

The prince thanked the queen for her gifts, and, bid- 
ding her farewell, went on his journey. 

He soon arrived in the town where the mist-veiled 
queen reigned in her palace, but the whole city had 
changed, and he could scarcely find his way through the 
streets. In the palace itself all was still, and he wandered 
through the rooms without meeting anyone to stop him. 
At last he entered the queen's own chamber, and there 
she lay, with her embroidery still in her hands, fast 
asleep. He pulled at her dress, but she did not waken. 
Then a dreadful idea came over him, and he ran to the 
chamber where the needles had been kept, but it was 
quite empt}^. The queen had broken the last over the 
work she held in her hand, and with it the spell was 
broken too, and she lay dead. 


Quick as thought the prince pulled out the golden 
flask, and sprinkled some drops of the water over the 
queen. In a moment she moved gently, and raising her 
head, opened her eyes. 

' Oh, my dear friend, I am so glad you wakened me ; 
I must have slept a long while ! ' 

'You would have slept till eternity,' answered the 
prince, ' if I had not been here to waken you.' 

At these words the queen remembered about the 
needles. She knew now that she had been dead, and that 
the prince had restored her to life. She gave him thanks 
from her heart for what he had done, and vowed she 
would repay him if she ever got a chance. 

The prince took his leave, and set out for the country 
of the bald-headed king. As he drew near the place he 
saw that the whole mountain had been dug away, and 
that the king was lying dead on the ground, his spade 
and bucket beside him. But as soon as the water from 
the golden flask touched him he yawned and stretched 
himself, and slowly rose to his feet. ' Oh, my dear friend, 
I am so glad to see you,' cried he, ' I must have slept a 
long while ! ' 

1 You would have slept till eternity if I had not been 
here to waken you,' answered the prince. And the king 
remembered the mountain, and the spell, and vowed to 
repay the service if he ever had a chance. 

Further along the road which led to his old home the 
prince found the great tree torn up by its roots, and the 
king of the eagles sitting dead on the ground, with his 
wings outspread as if for flight. A flutter ran through 
the feathers as the drops of water fell on them, and the 
eagle lifted his beak from the ground and said : ' Oh, how 
long I must have slept ! How can I thank you for 
having awakened me, my dear, good friend ! ' 

' You would have slept till eternity if I had not been 
here to waken you ' ; answered the prince. Then the 
king remembered about the tree, and knew that he had 


been dead, and promised, if ever he had the chance, to 
repay what the prince had done for him. 

At last he reached the capital of his father's kingdom, 
but on reaching the place where the royal palace had 
stood, instead of the marble galleries where he used 
to play, there lay a great sulphur lake, its blue flames 
darting into the air. How was he to find his father and 
mother, and bring them back to life, if they were lying at 
the bottom of that horrible water? He turned away 
sadly and wandered back into the streets, hardly knowing 
where he was going ; when a voice behind him cried : 
' Stop, prince, I have caught you at last ! It is a thousand 
years since I first began to seek you.' And there beside him 
stood the old, white-bearded, figure of Death. Swiftly he 
drew the ring from his finger, and the king of the eagles, 
the bald-headed king, and the mist-veiled queen, hastened 
to his rescue. In an instant they had seized upon Death 
and held him tight, till the prince should have time to 
reach the Land of Immortality. But they did not know 
how quickly Death could fly, and the prince had only one 
foot across the border, when he felt the other grasped 
from behind, and the voice of Death calling : ' Halt ! now 
you are mine.' 

The Queen of the Immortals was watching from her 
window, and cried to Death that he had no power in her 
kingdom, and that he must seek his prey elsewhere. 

' Quite true,' answered Death ; ' but his foot is in my 
kingdom, and that belongs to me ! ' 

1 At any rate half of him is mine/ replied the Queen, 
' and what good can the other half do you ? Half a man 
is no use, either to you or to me ! But this once I will 
allow you to cross into my kingdom, and we will decide, 
by a wager whose he is/ 

And so it was settled. Death stepped across the 
narrow line that surrounds the Land of Immortality, and 
the queen proposed the wager which was to decide the 
prince's fate. ' I will throw him up into the sky,' she said, 


' right to the back of the morning star, and if he falls 
down into this city, then he is mine. But if he should 
fall outside the walls, he shall belong to you/ 

In the middle of the city was a great open square, and 
here the queen wished the wager to take place. When all 
was ready, she put her foot under the foot of the prince 
and swung him into the air. Up, up, he went, high 
amongst the stars, and no man's eyes could follow him. 
Had she thrown him up straight ? the queen wondered 
anxiously, for, if not, he would fall outside the walls, and 
she would lose him for ever. The moments seemed long 
while she and Death stood gazing up into the air, waiting 
to know whose prize the prince would be. Suddenly 
they both caught sight of a tiny speck no bigger than a 
wasp, right up in the blue. Was he coming straight ? 
No ! Yes ! But as he was nearing the city, a light wind 
sprang up, and swayed him in the direction of the wall. 
Another second and he would have fallen half over it, 
when the queen sprang forward, seized him in her arms, 
and flung him into the castle. Then she commanded her 
servants to cast Death out of the city, which they did, 
with such hard blows that he never dared to show his 
face again in the Land of Immortality. 

[From Ungarischen Vdlksmiirchen,] 



Once upon a time there lived a stone-cutter, who went 
every day to a great rock in the side of a big mountain 
and cut out slabs for gravestones or for houses. He 
understood very well the kinds of stones wanted for the 
different purposes, and as he was a careful workman 
he had plenty of customers. For a long time he was 
quite happy and contented, and asked for nothing better 
than what he had. 

Now in the mountain dwelt a spirit which now and 
then appeared to men, and helped them in many ways to 
become rich and prosperous. The stone-cutter, however, 
had never seen this spirit, and only shook his head, with 
an unbelieving air, when anyone spoke of it. But a time 
was coming when he learned to change his opinion. 

One day the stone-cutter carried a gravestone to the 
house of a rich man, and saw there all sorts of beautiful 
things, of which he had never even dreamed. Suddenly 
his daily work seemed to grow harder and heavier, and 
he said to himself : ' Oh, if only I were a rich man, and 
could sleep in a bed with silken curtains and golden 
tassels, how happy I should be ! ' 

And a voice answered him : ' Your wish is heard ; a 
rich man you shall be ! ' 

At the sound of the voice the stone-cutter looked 
round, but could see nobody. He thought it was all his 
fancy, and picked up his tools and went home, for he did 
not feel inclined to do any more work that day. But 
when he reached the little house where he lived, he stood 


still with amazement, fox* instead of his wooden hut was 
a stately palace filled with splendid furniture, and most 
splendid of all was the bed, in every respect like the one 
he had envied. He was nearly beside himself with joy, 
and in his new life the old one was soon forgotten. 

It was now the beginning of summer, and each day 
the sun blazed more fiercely. One morning the heat was 
so great that the stone-cutter could scarcely breathe, and 
he determined he would stop at home till the evening. 
He was rather dull, for he had never learned how to 
amuse himself, and was peeping through the closed blinds 
to see what was going on in the street, when a little 
carriage passed by, drawn by servants dressed in blue and 
silver. In the carriage sat a prince, and over his head a 
golden umbrella was held, to protect him from the sun's 

1 Oh, if I were only a prince ! ' said the stone-cutter 
to himself, as the carriage vanished round the corner. 
1 Oh, if I were only a prince, and could go in such 
a caiTiage and have a golden umbrella held over me, how 
happy I should be ! ' 

And the voice of the mountain spirit answered : ' Your 
wish is heard ; a prince you shall be.' 

And a prince he was. Before his carriage rode one 
company of men and another behind it ; servants dressed 
in scarlet and gold bore him along, the coveted umbrella 
was held over his head, everything heart could desire was 
his. But yet it was not enough. He looked round still 
for something to wish for, and when he saw that in spite 
of the water he poured on his grass the rays of the sun 
scorched it, and that in spite of the umbrella held over 
his head each day his face grew browner and browner, 
he cried in his anger : ' The sun is mightier than I ; oh, if 
I were only the sun ! ' 

And the mountain spirit answered : ' Your wish is 
heard ; the sun you shall be.' 

And the sun he was, and felt himself proud in his 
c o 


power. He shot his beams above and below, on earth 
and in heaven ; he burnt up the grass in the fields and 
scorched the faces of princes as well as of poorer folk. 
But in a short time he began to grow tired of his might, 
for there seemed nothing left for him to do. Discontent 
once more filled his soul, and when a cloud covered his 
face, and hid the earth from him, he cried in his anger : 
1 Does the cloud hold captive my rays, and is it mightier 
than I? Oh, that I were a cloud, and mightier than 
any ! ' 

And the mountain spirit answered : ' Your wish is 
heard ; a cloud you shall be ! ' 

And a cloud he was, and lay between the sun and 
the earth. He caught the sun's beams and held them, 
and to his joy the earth grew green again and flowers 
blossomed. But that was not enough for him, and for 
days and weeks he poured forth rain till the rivers over- 
flowed their banks, and the crops of rice stood in water. 
Towns and villages were destroyed by the power of the 
rain, only the great rock on the mountain side remained 
unmoved. The cloud was amazed at the sight, and cried 
in wonder : ' Is the rock, then, mightier than I ? Oh, 
if I were only the rock ! ' 

And the mountain spirit answered : ' Your wish is 
heard ; the rock you shall be ! ' 

And the rock he was, and gloried in his power. 
Proudly he stood, and neither the heat of the sun nor the 
force of the rain could move him. ' This is better than 
all ! ' he said to himself. But one day he heard a strange 
noise at his feet, and when he looked down to see what it 
could be, he saw a stone-cutter driving tools into his sur- 
face. Even while he looked a trembling feeling ran all 
through him, and a great block broke off and fell upon the 
ground. Then he cried in his wrath : ' Is a mere child of 
earth mightier than a rock ? Oh, if I were only a man ! ' 

And the mountain spirit answered : ' Your wish is 
heard. A man once more you shall be ! ' 


o 2 


And a man he was, and in the sweat of his brow he 
toiled again at his trade of stone-cutting. His bed was 
hard and his food scanty, but he had learned to be satis- 
fied with it, and did not long to be something or some- 
body else. And as he never asked for things he had not 
got, or desired to be greater and mightier than other 
people, he was happy at last, and heard the voice of the 
mountain spirit no longer. 

[From Japanische Mahrchen.~\ 



Once upon a time there lived a great king who had a 
wife and one son whom he loved very much. The boy 
was still young when, one day, the king said to his wife : 
' I feel that the hour of my death draws near, and I want 
you to promise that you will never take another husband 
but will give up your life to the care of our son.' 

The queen burst into tears at these words, and sobbed 
out that she would never, never marry again, and that her 
son's welfare should be her first thought as long as she 
lived. Her promise comforted the troubled heart of the 
king, and a few days after he died, at peace with himself 
and with the world. 

But no sooner was the breath out of his body, than 
the queen said to herself, ' To promise is one thing, and 
to keep is quite another.' And hardly was the last spade- 
ful of earth flung over the coffin than she married a noble 
from a neighbouring country, and got him made king 
instead of the young prince. Her new husband was a 
cruel, wicked man, who treated his stepson very badly, 
and gave him scarcely anything to eat, and only rags to 
wear ; and he would certainly have killed the boy but for 
fear of the people. 

Now by the palace grounds there ran a brook, but 
instead of being a water-brook it was a milk-brook, and 
both rich and poor flocked to it daily and drew as much 
milk as they chose. The first thing the new king did 
when he was seated on the throne, was to forbid anyone 
to go near the brook, on pain of being seized by the 


watchmen. And this was purely spite, for there was 
plenty of milk for everybody. 

For some days no one dared venture near the banks of 
the stream, but at length some of the watchmen noticed 
that early in the mornings, just at dawn, a man with a 
gold beard came down to the brook with a pail, which he 
filled up to the brim with milk, and then vanished like 
smoke before they could get near enough to see who he 
was. So they went and told the king what they had 

At lirst the king would not believe their story, but as 
they persisted it was quite true, he said that he would 
go and watch the stream that night himself. With the 
earliest streaks of dawn the gold-bearded man appeared, 
and filled his pail as before. Then in an instant he had 
vanished, as if the earth had swallowed him up. 

The king stood staring with eyes and mouth open 
at the place where the man had disappeared. He had 
never seen him before, that was certain ; but what 
mattered much more was how to catch him, and what 
should be done with him when he was caught ? He would 
have a cage built as a prison for him, and everyone 
would talk of it, for in other countries thieves were put in 
prison, and it was long indeed since any king had used a 
cage. It was all very well to plan, and even to station a 
watchman behind every bush, but it was of no use, for the 
man was never caught. They would creep up to him softly 
on the grass, as he was stooping to fill his pail, and just as 
they stretched out their hands to seize him, he vanished 
before their eyes. Time after time this happened, till the 
king grew mad with rage, and offered a large reward to 
anyone who could tell him how to capture his enemy. 

The first person that came with a scheme was an old 
soldier who promised the king that if he would only put 
some bread and bacon and a flask of wine on the bank of 
the stream, the gold- bearded man would be sure to eat 
and drink, and they could shake some powder into the 


wine, which would send him to sleep at once. After that 
there was nothing to do but to shut him in the cage. 

This idea pleased the king, and he ordered bread and 
bacon and a flask of drugged wine to be placed on the 
bank of the stream, and the watchers to be redoubled. 
Then, full of hope, he awaited the result. 

Everything turned out just as the soldier had said. 
Early next morning the gold-bearded man came down to 
the brook, ate, drank, and fell sound asleep, so that the 
watchers easily bound him, and carried him off to the 
palace. In a moment the king had him fast in the golden 
cage, and showed him, with ferocious joy, to the strangers 
who were visiting his court. The poor captive, when he 
awoke from his drunken sleep, tried to talk to them, but no 
one would listen to him, so he- shut himself up altogether, 
and the people who came to stare took him for a dumb 
man of the woods. He wept and moaned to himself all day, 
and would hardly touch food, though, in dread that he 
should die and escape his tormentors, the king ordered 
his head cook to send him dishes from the royal table. 

The gold-bearded man had been in captivity about a 
month, when the king was forced to make war upon a 
neighbouring country, and left the palace,' to take com- 
mand of his army. But before he went he called his step- 
son to him and said : 

' Listen, boy, to what I tell you. While I am away 
I trust the care of my prisoner to you. See that he has 
plenty to eat and drink, but be careful that he does not 
escape, or even walk about the room. If I return and 
find him gone, you will pay for it by a terrible death.' 

The young prince was thankful that his stepfather 
was going to the war, and secretly hoped he might never 
come back. Directly he had ridden off the boy went to 
the room where the cage was kept, and never left it night 
and day. He even played his games beside it. 

One day he was shooting at a mark with a silver bow ; 
one of his arrows fell into the golden cage. 

^he^GoldeR~"be&xded Kax 
Gives vcp bhe HTrotD w 



' Please give me my arrow,' said the prince, running 
up to him ; but the gold-bearded man answered : 

' No, I shall not give it to you unless you let me out 
of my cage.' 

' I may not let you out,' replied the boy, ' for if I do 
my stepfather says that I shall have to die a horrible 
death when he returns from the war. My arrow can be 
of no use to you, so give it to me.' 

The man handed the arrow through the bars, but 
when he had done so he begged harder than ever that the 
prince would open the door and set him free. Indeed, 
he prayed so earnestly that the prince's heart was touched, 
for he was a tender-hearted boy who pitied the sorrows of 
other people. So he shot back the bolt, and the gold- 
bearded man stepped out into the world. 

' I will repay you a thousand fold for that good deed.' 
said the man, and then he vanished. The prince began 
to think what he should say to the king when he came 
back ; then he wondered whether it would be wise to 
wait for his stepfather's return and run the risk of the 
dreadful death which had been promised him. ' No,' he 
said to himself, ' I am afraid to stay. Perhaps the world 
will be kinder to me than he has been.' 

Unseen he stole out when twilight fell, and for many 
days he wandered over mountains and through forests 
and valleys without knowing where he was going or what 
he should do. He had only the berries for food, when, 
one morning, he saw a wood-pigeon sitting on a bough. In 
an instant he had fitted an arrow to his bow, and was 
taking aim at the bird, thinking what a good meal he 
would make off him, when his weapon fell to the ground 
at the sound of the pigeon's voice : 

1 Do not shoot, I implore you, noble prince ! I have 
two little sons at home, and they will die of hunger if I 
am not there to bring them food.' 

And the young prince had pity, and unstrung his 


1 Oh, prince, I will repay your deed of mercy,' said 
the grateful wood-pigeon. 

' Poor thing ! how can you repay me ? ' asked the prince. 

1 You have forgotten,' answered the wood-pigeon, ' the 
proverb that runs, " mountain and mountain can never 
meet, but one living creature can always come across 
another." ' The boy laughed at this speech and went his 

By-and-by he reached the edge of a lake, and flying 
towards some rushes which grew near the shore he beheld 
a wild duck. Now, in the days that the king, his father, 
was alive, and he had everything to eat he could possibly 
wish for, the prince always had wild duck for his birthday 
dinner, so he quickly fitted an arrow to his bow and 
took a careful aim. 

' Do not shoot, I pray you, noble prince ! ' cried the 
wild duck ; ' I have two little sons at home ; they will die 
of hunger if I am not there to bring them food.' 

And the prince had pity, and let fall his arrow and 
unstrung his bow. 

' Oh, prince ! I will repay your deed of mercy, ' ex- 
claimed the grateful wild duck. 

1 You poor thing ! how can you repay me ? ' asked the 

' You have forgotten/ answered the wild duck, ' the 
proverb that runs, " mountain and mountain can never 
meet, but one living creature can always come across 
another." ] The boy laughed at this speech and went his 

He had not wandered far from the shores of the lake, 
when he noticed a stork standing on one leg, and again 
he raised his bow and prepared to take aim. 

1 Do not shoot, I pray you, noble prince,' cried the 
stork ; ' I have two little sons at home ; they will die of 
hunger if I am not there to bring them food.' 

Again the prince was filled with pity, and this time 
also he did not shoot. 


' Oh, prince, I will repay your deed of mercy,' cried 
the stork. 

' You poor stork 1 how can you repay me ? ' asked the 

' You have forgotten/ answered the stork, ' the proverb 
that runs, " mountain and mountain can never meet, but 
one living creature can always come across another." ' 

The boy laughed at hearing these words again, and 
walked slowly on. He had not gone far, when he fell in 
with two discharged soldiers. 

4 Where are you going, little brother ? ' asked one. 

1 1 am seeking w T ork,' answered the prince. 

' So are we,' replied the soldier. ' We can all go 

The boy was glad of company and they w 7 ent on, 
and on, and on, through seven kingdoms, without finding 
anything they were able to do. At length they reached a 
palace, and there was the king standing on the steps. 

' You seem to be looking for something,' said he. 

4 It is work we want,' they all answered. 

So the king told the soldiers that they might become 
his coachmen ; but he made the boy his companion, and 
gave him rooms near his own. The soldiers were dread- 
fully angry when they heard this, for of course they 
did not know that the boy was really a prince ; and 
they soon began to lay their heads together to plot his 

Then they went to the king. 

' Your Majesty,' they said, ' we think it our duty to 
tell you that your new companion has boasted to us that 
if he were only your steward he would not lose a single 
grain of corn out of the storehouses. Now, if your 
Majesty would give orders that a sack of wheat should be 
mixed with one of barley, and would send for the youth, 
and command him to separate the grains one from 
another, in two hours' time, you would soon see what his 
talk was worth.' 


The king, who was weak, listened to what these 
wicked men had told him, and desired the prince to have 
the contents of the sack piled into two heaps hy the time 
that he returned from his council. ' If you succeed, ' he 
added, ' you shall be my steward, but if you fail, I will 
put you to death on the spot.' 

The unfortunate prince declared that he had never 
made any such boast as was reported ; but it was all in 
vain. The king did not believe him, and turning him 
into an empty room, bade his servants carry in the huge 
sack filled with wheat and barley, and scatter them in a 
heap on the floor. 

The prince hardly knew where to begin, and indeed if 
he had had a thousand people to help him, and a week to 
do it in, he could never have finished his task. So he 
flung himself on the ground in despair, and covered his 
face with his hands. 

While he lay thus, a wood -pigeon flew in through the 

1 Why are you weeping, noble prince ? * asked the 

1 How can I help weeping at the task set me by the 
king. For he says, if I fail to do it, I shall die a horrible 

1 Oh, there is really nothing to cry about,' answered 
the wood-pigeon soothingly, ' I am the king of the 
wood -pigeons, whose life you spared when you were 
hungry. And now I will repay my debt, as I promised.' 
So saying he flew out of the window, leaving the prince 
with some hope in his heart. 

In a few minutes he returned, followed by a cloud of 
wood-pigeons, so dense that it seemed to fill the room. 
Their king showed them what they had to do, and they 
set to work so hard that the grain was sorted into two 
heaps long before the council was over. When the king 
came back he could not believe his eyes ; but search as 
he might through the two heaps, he could not find any 


barley among the wheat, or any wheat amongst the barley. 
So he praised the prince for his industry and cleverness, 
and made him his steward at once. 

This made the two soldiers more envious still, and 
they began to hatch another plot. 

' Your Majesty,' they said to the king, one day, as he 
was standing on the steps of the palace, ' that fellow has 
been boasting again, that if he had the care of your 
treasures not so much as a gold pin should ever be lost. 
Put this vain fellow to the proof, we pray you, and 
throw the ring from the princess's finger into the brook, 
and bid him find it. We shall soon see what his talk is 

And the foolish king listened to them, and ordered the 
prince to be brought before him. 

' My son,' he said, ' I have heard that you have declared 
that if I made you keeper of my treasures you would 
never lose so much as a gold pin. Now, in order to prove 
the truth of your words, I am going to throw the ring 
from the princess's finger into the brook, and if you do not 
find it before I come back from council, you will have to 
die a horrible death.' 

It was no use denying that he had said anything of 
the kind. The king did not believe him ; in fact he paid 
no attention at all, and hurried off, leaving the poor boy 
speechless with despair in the corner. However, he soon 
remembered that though it was very unlikely that he 
should find the ring in the brook, it was impossible that 
he should find it by staying in the palace. 

For some time the prince wandered up and down 
peering into the bottom of the stream, but though the 
water was very clear, nothing could he see of the ring. 
At length he gave it up in despair, and throwing himself 
down at the foot of the tree, he' wept bitterly. 

1 What is the matter, dear prince ? ' said a voice just 
above him, and raising his head, he saw the wild duck. 
1 The king of this country declares I must die a 


horrible death if I cannot find the princess's ring which 
he has thrown into the brook,' answered the prince. 

1 Oh, you must not vex yourself about that, for I can 
help you,' replied the bird. ' I am the king of the wild 
ducks, whose life you spared, and now it is my turn to 
save yours.' Then he flew away, and in a few minutes 
a great flock of wild ducks were swimming all up and 
down the stream looking with all their might, and long 
before the king came back from his council there it was, 
safe on the grass beside the prince. 

At this sight the king was yet more astonished at the 
cleverness of his steward, and at once promoted him to be 
the keeper of his jewels. 

Now you would have thought that by this time the 
king would have been satisfied with the prince, and 
would have left him alone ; but people's natures are very 
hard to change, and when the two envious soldiers came 
to him with a new falsehood, he was as ready to listen to 
them as before. 

' Gracious Majesty,' said they, ' the youth whom you 
have made keeper of your jewels has declared to us that 
a child shall be born in the palace this night, which will 
be able to speak every language in the world and to play 
every instrument of music. Is he then become a prophet, 
or a magician, that he should know things which have 
not yet come to pass ? ' 

At these words the king became more angry than 
ever. He had tried to learn magic himself, but somehow, 
or other his spells would never work, and he w T as furious 
to hear that the prince claimed a, power that he did not 
possess. Stammering with rage, he ordered the youth to 
be brought before him, and vowed that unless this miracle 
was accomplished he would have the prince dragged at a 
horse's tail until he was dead. 

In spite of what the soldiers had said, the boy knew 
no more magic than the king did, and his task seemed 
more hopeless than before. He lay weeping in the chamber 


which he was forbidden to leave, when suddenly he heard 
a sharp tapping at the window, and, looking up, he beheld 
a stork. 

1 What makes you so sad, prince ? ' asked he. 

1 Someone has told the king that I have prophesied 
that a child shall be born this night in the palace, who 
can speak all the languages in the world and play every 
musical instrument. I am no magician to bring these 
things to pass, but he says that if it does not happen he 
will have me dragged through the city at a horse's tail 
till I die.' 

' Do not trouble yourself,' answered the stork. ' I will 
manage to find such a child, for I am the king of the 
storks whose life you spared, and now I can repay you 
for it.' 

The stork flew away and soon returned carrying in 
his beak a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid it 
down near a lute. In an instant the baby stretched out 
its little hands and began to play a tune so beautiful that 
even the prince forgot his sorrows as he listened. Then 
he was given a flute and a zither, but he was just as well 
able to draw music from them ; and the prince, whose 
courage was gradually rising, spoke to him in all the 
languages he knew. The baby answered him in all, and 
no one could have told which was his native tongue 1 

The next morning the king went straight to the 
prince's room, and saw with his own eyes the wonders 
that baby could do. ' If your magic can produce such a 
baby,' he said, ' you must be greater than any wizard that 
ever lived, and shall have my daughter in marriage.' 
And, being a king, and therefore accustomed to have 
everything the moment he wanted it, he commanded the 
ceremony to be performed without delay, and a splendid 
feast to be made for the bride and bridegroom. When it 
was over, he said to the prince : 

1 Now that you are really my son, tell me by what 
arts you were able to fulfil the tasks I set you ? ' 



1 My noble father-in-law/ answered the prince, ' I am 
ignorant of all spells and arts. But somehow I have 
always managed to escape the death which has threatened 
me.' And he told the king how he had been forced to 
ran away from his stepfather, and how he had spared the 
three birds, and had joined the two soldiers, who had 
from envy done their utmost to ruin him. 

The king was rejoiced in his heart that his daughter 
had married a prince, and not a common man, and he 
chased the two soldiers away with whips, and told them 
that if they ever dared to show their faces across the bor- 
ders of his kingdom, they should die the same death he 
had prepared for the prince. 

[From Ungarische Mahrchen ] 



Once upon a time there lived a princess who was so 
beautiful and so good that everybody loved her. Her 
father could hardly bear her out of his sight, and he 
almost died of grief when, one day, she disappeared, and 
though the whole kingdom was searched through and 
through, she could not be found in any corner of it. In 
despair, the king ordered a proclamation to be made that 
whoever could bring her back to the palace should have 
her for his wife. This made the young men start afresh 
on the search, but they were no more successful than 
before, and returned sorrowfully to their homes. 

Now there dwelt, not far from the palace, an old man 
who had three sons. The two eldest were allowed by 
their parents to do just as they liked, but the youngest 
was always obliged to give way to his brothers. When 
they were all grown up, the eldest told his father that he 
was tired of leading such a quiet life, and that he meant 
to go away and see the world. 

The old people were very unhappy at the thought that 
they must part with him, but they said nothing, and 
began to collect all that he would want for his travels, and 
were careful to add a pair of new boots. When everything 
was ready, he bade them farewell, and started merrily on 
his way. 

For some miles his road lay through a wood, aod 
when he left it he suddenly came out on a bare hillside. 
Here he sat down to rest, and pulling out his wallet 
prepared to eat his dinner. 


He had only eaten a few mouthfuls when an old man 
badly dressed passed by, and seeing the food, asked if the 
young man could not spare him a little. 

' Not I, indeed ! ' answered he; ' why I have scarcely 
enough for myself. If you want food you must earn it,' 
And the beggar went on. 

After the young man had finished his dinner he rose 
and walked on for several hours, till he reached a second 
hill, where he threw himself down on the grass, and took 
some bread and milk from his wallet. While he was 
eating and drinking, there came by an old man, yet more 
wretched than the first, and begged for a few mouthfuls. 
But instead of food he only got hard words, and limped 
sadly away. 

Towards evening the young man reached an open space 
in the wood, and by this time he thought he would like some 
supper. The birds saw the food, and flew round his head 
in numbers hoping for some crumbs, but he threw stones 
at them, and frightened them off. Then he began to 
wonder where he should sleep. Not in the open space 
he was in, for that was bare and cold, and though he had 
walked a long way that day, and was tired, he dragged 
himself up, and went on seeking for a shelter. 

At length he saw a deep sort of hole or cave under a 
great rock, and as it seemed quite empty, he went in, and 
lay down in a corner. About midnight he was awakened 
by a noise, and peeping out ho beheld a terrible ogress 
approaching. He implored her not to hurt him, but to 
let him stay there for the rest of the night, to which she 
consented, on condition that he should spend the next day 
in doing any task which she might choose to set him. 
To this the young man willingly agreed, and turned over 
and went to sleep again. In the morning, the ogress 
bade him sweep the dust out of the cave, and to have it 
clean before her return in the evening, otherwise it would 
be the worse for him. Then she left the cave. 

The young man took the spade, and began to clean 


the floor of the cave, but try as he would to move it the 
dirt still stuck to its place. He soon gave up the task, and 
sat sulkily in the corner, wondering what punishment the 
ogress would find for him, and why she had set him to do 
such an impossible thing. 

He had not long to wait, after the ogress came home, 
before he knew what his punishment was to be ! She 
just gave one look at the floor of the cave, then dealt him 
a blow on the head which cracked his skull, and there 
was an end of him. 

Meanwhile his next brother grew tired of staying at 
home, and let his parents have no rest till they had con- 
sented that he also should be given some food and some 
new boots, and go out to see the world. On his road, he 
also met the two old beggars, who prayed for a little of 
his bread and milk, but this young man had never been 
taught to help other people, and had made it a rule 
through his life to keep all he had to himself. So he 
turned a deaf ear and finished his dinner. 

By-and-by he, too, came to the cave, and was bidden 
by the ogress to clean the floor, but he was no more 
successful than his brother, and his fate was the same. 

Anyone would have thought that when the old people 
had only one son left that at least they would have been 
kind to him, even if they did not love him. But for some 
reason they could hardly bear the sight of him, though he 
tried much harder to make them comfortable than his 
brothers had ever done. So when he asked their leave to 
go out into the world they gave it at once, and seemed 
quite glad to be rid of him. They felt it was quite gene- 
rous of them to provide him with a pair of new boots and 
some bread and milk for hrs journey. 

Besides the pleasure of seeing the world, the youth 
was very anxious to discover what had become of his 
brothers, and he determined to trace, as far as he could, 
the way that they must have gone. He followed the road 


that led from his father's cottage to the hill, where he sat 
down to rest, saying to himself : ' I am sure my brothers 
must have stopped here, and I will do the same.' 

He was hungry as well as tired, and took out some of 
the food his parents had given him. He was just going 
to begin to eat when the old man appeared, and asked if 
he could not spare him a little. The young man at once 
broke off some of the bread, begging the old man to sit 
down beside him, and treating him as if he was an old 
friend. At last the stranger rose, and said to him : ' If 
ever you are in trouble call me, and I will help you. My 
name is Tritill.' Then he vanished, and the young man 
could not tell where he had gone. 

However, he felt he had now rested long enough, and 
that he had better be going his way. At the next hill he 
met with the second old man, and to him also he gave 
food and drink. And when this old man had finished he 
said, like the first : ' If you ever want help in the smallest 
thing call to me. My name is Litill.' 

The young man walked on till he reached the open 
space in the wood, where he stopped for dinner. In a 
moment all the birds in the world seemed flying round 
his head, and he crumbled some of his bread for them 
and watched them as they darted down to pick it up. 
When they had cleared off every crumb the largest bird 
with the gayest plumage said to him : ' If you are in 
trouble and need help say, " My birds, come to me ! " and 
we will come.' Then they flew away. 

Towards evening the young man reached the cave 
where his brothers had met their deaths, and, like them, 
he thought it would be a good place to sleep in. Looking 
round, he saw some pieces of the dead men's clothes and 
of their bones. The sight made him shiver, but he would 
not move away, and resolved to await the return of the 
ogress, for such he knew she must be. 

Very soon she came striding in, and he asked politely 
if she would give him a night's lodging. She answered 


as before, that he might stay on condition that he should 
do any work that she might set him to next morning. 
So the bargain being concluded, the young man curled 
himself up in his corner and went to sleep. 

itiM*H^Ul,& tli£*Rreds> E@ th& V&&&M& ** c ^4^ 

The dirt lay thicker than ever on the floor of the cave 
when the young man took the spade and began his work. 
He could not clear it any more than his brothers had 
done, and at last the spade itself stuck in the earth so 


that he could not pull it out. The youth stared at it in 
despair, then the old beggar's words flashed into his 
rnind, and he cried : ' Tritill, Tritill, come and help me I ' 

And Tritill stood beside him and asked what he 
wanted. The youth told him all his story, and when he 
had finished, the old man said : ' Spade and shovel do 
your duty/ and they danced about the cave till, in a short 
time, there was not a speck of dust left on the floor. As 
soon as it was quite clean Tritill went his way. 

With a light heart the young man awaited the return 
of the ogress. When she came in she looked carefully 
round, and then said to him : ' You did not do that quite 
alone. However, as the floor is clean I will leave your 
head on.' 

The following morning the ogress told the young man 
that he must take all the feathers out of her pillows and 
spread them to dry in the sun. But if one feather was 
missing when she came back at night his head should pay 
for it.' 

The young man fetched the pillows, and shook out all 
the feathers, and oh ! what quantities of them there were ! 
He was thinking to himself, as he spread them out care- 
fully, how lucky it was that the sun was so bright and 
that there was no wind, when suddenly a breeze sprang 
up, and in a moment the feathers were dancing high in 
the air. At first the youth tried to collect them again, 
but he soon found that it was no use, and he cried in 
despair : ' Tritill, Li till, and all my birds, come and help 
me ! ' 

He had hardly said the words when there they all 
were ; and when the birds had brought all the feathers 
back again, Tritill, and Litill, and he, put them away in 
the pillows, as the ogress had bidden him. But one little 
feather they kept out, and told the young man that if the 
ogress missed it he was to thrust it up her nose. Then 
they all vanished, Tritill, Litill, and the birds. 

Directly the ogress returned home she flung herself 


with all her weight on the bed, and the whole cave 
quivered under her. The pillows were soft and full 
instead of being empty, which surprised her, but that did 
not content her. She got up, shook out the pillow-cases 
one by one, and began to count the feathers that were in 
each. ' If one is missing I will have your head,' said she, 
and at that the young man drew the feather from his 
pocket and thrust it up her nose, crying ; ' If you want 
your feather, here it is.' 

' You did not sort those feathers alone,' answered the 
ogress calmly; 'however, this time I will let that pass.' 

That night the young man slept soundly in his corner, 
and in the morning the ogress told him that his work that 
day would be to slay one of her great oxen, to cook its 
heart, and to make drinking cups of its horns, before she 
returned home ' There are fifty oxen,' added she, ' and 
you must guess which of the herd I want killed. If you 
guess right, to-morrow you shall be free to go where you 
will, and you shall choose besides three things as a reward 
for your service. But if you slay the wrong ox your head 
shall pay for it.' 

Left alone, the young man stood thinking for a little. 
Then he called : ' Tritill, Litill, come to my help ! ' 

In a moment he saw them, far away, driving the 
biggest ox the youth had ever seen. When they drew 
near, Tritill killed it, Litill took out its heart for the 
young man to cook, and both began quickly to turn the 
horns into drinking cups. The work went merrily on, 
and they talked gaily, and the young man told his friends 
of the payment promised him by the ogress if he had 
done her bidding. The old men warned him that, he 
must ask her for the chest which stood at the foot of her 
bed, for whatever lay on the top of the bed, and for what 
lay under the side of the cave. The young man thanked 
them for their counsel, and Tritill and Litill then took 
leave of him, saying that for the present he would need 
them no more. 


Scarcely had they disappeared when the ogress came 
back, and found everything ready just as she had ordered. 
Before she sat down to eat the bullock's heart she turned to 
the young man, and said : ' You did not do that all alone, 
my friend ; but, nevertheless, I will keep my word, and 
to-morrow you shall go your way.' So they went to bed 
and slept till dawn. 

When the sun rose the ogress awoke the young man, 
and called to him to choose any three things out of her 

' I choose/ answered he, ' the chest which stands at 
the foot of your bed ; whatever lies on the top of the bed, 
and whatever is under the side of the cave.' 

1 You did not choose those things by yourself, my 
friend,' said the ogress ; ' but what I have promised, that 
will I do.' 

And then she gave him his reward. 

1 The thing which lay on the top of the bed ' turned out 
to be the lost princess. * The chest which stood at the foot 
of the bed ' proved full of gold and precious stones ; and 
' what was under the side of the cave ' he found to be a 
great ship, with oars and sails that went of itself as well 
on land as in the water. * You are the luckiest man that 
ever was born,' said the ogress as she went out of the cave 
as usual. 

With much difficulty the youth put the heavy chest 
on his shoulders and carried' it on board the ship, the 
princess walking by his. side. Then he took the helm 
and steered the vessel back to her father's kingdom. The 
king's joy at receiving back his lost daughter was so 
great that he almost fainted, but when he recovered him- 
self he made the young man tell him how everything had 
really happened. ' You have found her, and you shall 
marry her,' said the king ; and so it was done. And this 
is the end of the story. 

[From Ungarische MahrchenJ] 



Long, long ago, a king and queen reigned over a large 
and powerful country. What their names were nobody 
knows, but their son was called Sigurd, and their daughter 
Lineik, and these young people were famed throughout 
the whole kingdom for their wisdom and beauty. 

There was only a year between them, and they loved 
each other so much that they could do nothing apart. 
When they began to grow up the king gave them a house 
of their own to live in, with servants and carriages, and 
everything they could possibly want. 

For many years they all lived happily together, and 
then the queen fell ill, and knew that she would never 
get better. 

1 Promise me two things,' she said one day to the 
king ; ' one, that if you marry again, as indeed you must, 
you will not choose as your wife a woman from some small 
state or distant island, who knows nothing of the world, 
and will be taken up with thoughts of her grandeur. But 
rather seek out a princess of some great kingdom, who 
has been used to courts all her life, and holds them at 
their true worth. The other thing I have to ask is, that 
you will never cease to watch over our children, who will 
soon become your greatest joy.' 

These were the queen's last words, and a few hours 
later she was dead. The king was so bowed down with 
sorrow that he would not attend even to the business of 
the kingdom, and at last his Prime Minister had to tell 
him that the people were complaining that they had 


nobody to right their wrongs. ' You must rouse yourself, 
sir/ went on the minister, ' and put aside your own 
sorrows for the sake of your country.' 

1 You do not spare me,' answered the king ; 'bub what 
you say is just, and your counsel is good. I have heard 
that men say, likewise, that it will be for the good of my 
kingdom for me to marry again, though my heart will 
never cease to be with my lost wife. But it was her wish 
also ; therefore, to you I entrust the duty of finding a 
lady fitted to share my throne ; only, see that she comes 
neither from a small town nor a remote island.' 

So an embassy was prepared, with the minister at its 
head, to visit the greatest courts in the world, and to choose 
out a suitable princess. But the vessel which carried 
them had not been gone many days when a thick fog 
came on, and the captain could see neither to the right 
nor to the left. For a whole month the ship drifted 
about in darkness, till at length the fog lifted and they 
beheld a cliff jutting out just in front. On one side of 
the cliff lay a sheltered bay, in which the vessel was soon 
anchored, and though they did not know where they were, 
at any rate they felt sure of fresh fruit and water. 

The minister left the rest of his followers on board 
the ship, and taking a small boat rowed himself to land, 
in order to look about him and to find out if the island 
was really as deserted as it seemed. 

He had not gone far, when he heard the sound of 
music, and, turning in its direction, he saw a woman of 
marvellous beauty sitting on a low stool playing on a 
harp, while a girl beside her sang. The minister stopped 
and greeted the lady politely, and she replied with friendli- 
ness, asking him why he had come to such an out-of-the- 
way place. In answer he told her of the object of his 

' I am in the same state as your master,' replied the 
lady; 'I was married to a mighty king who ruled over 
this land, till Vikings [sea-robbers] came and slew him 


and put all the people to death. But I managed to 
escape, and hid myself here with my daughter.' 

And the daughter listened, and said softly to her 
mother : ' Are you speaking the truth now ? ' 

1 Eemember your promise,' answered the mother 
angrily, giving her a pinch which was unseen by the 

' What is your name, madam ? ' asked he, much 
touched by this sad story, 

1 Blauvor,' she replied, ' and my daughter is called 
Laufer ' ; and then she inquired the name of the minister, 
and of the king his master. After this they talked of 
many things, and the lady showed herself learned in all 
that a woman should know, and even in much that men 
only were commonly taught. ' What a wife she would 
make for the king,' thought the minister to himself, and 
before long he had begged the honour of her hand for his 
master. She declared at first that she was too unworthy 
to accept the position offered her, and that the minister 
would soon repent his choice ; but this only made him the 
more eager, and in the end he gained her consent, and 
prevailed on her to return with him at once to his own 

The minister then conducted the mother and daughter 
back to the ship ; the anchor was raised, the sails spread, 
and a fair wind was behind them. 

Now that the fog had lifted they could see as they 
looked back that, except just along the shore, the island 
was bare and deserted and not fit for men to live in ; but 
about that nobody cared. They had a quick voyage, and 
in six days they reached the land, and at once set out for 
the capital, a messenger being sent on first by the minis- 
ter to inform the king of what had happened. 

When his Majesty's eyes fell on the two beautiful 
women, clad in dresses of gold and silver, he forgot his 
sorrows and ordered preparations for the wedding to be 
made without delay. In his joy he never remembered to 


inquire in what kind of country the future queen had been 
found. In fact his head was so turned by the beauty of 
the two ladies that when the invitations were sent by his 
orders to all the great people in the kingdom, he did not 
even recollect his two children, who remained shut up in 
their own house ! 

After the marriage the king ceased to have any will 
of his own and did nothing without consulting his wife. 
She was present at all his councils, and her opinion was 
asked before making peace or war. But when a few 
months had passed the king began to have doubts as to 
whether the minister's choice had really been a wise one, 
and he noticed that his children lived more and more in 
their palace and never came near their stepmother. 

It always happens that if a person's eyes are once 
opened they see a great deal more than they ever 
expected ; and soon it struck the king that the members 
of his court had a way of disappearing one after the other 
without any reason. At first he had not paid much 
attention to the fact, but merely appointed some fresh 
person to the vacant place. As, however, man after man 
vanished without leaving any trace, he began to grow 
uncomfortable and to wonder if the queen could have 
anything to do with it. 

Things were in this state when, one day, his wife 
said to him that it was time for him to make a progress 
through his kingdom and see that his governors were not 
cheating him of the money that was his due. ' And you 
need not be anxious about going,' she added, ' for I will 
rule the country while you are away as carefully as' you 
could yourself.' 

The king had no great desire to undertake this 
journey, but the queen's will was stronger than his, and 
he was too lazy to make a fight for it. So he said 
nothing and set about his preparations, ordering his finest 
ship to be ready to carry him round the coast. Still his 
heart was heavy, and he felt uneasy, though he could not 


have told why ; and the night before he was to start he 
went to the children's palace to take leave of his son and 

He had not seen them for some time, and they gave 
him a warm welcome, for they loved him dearly and he 
had always been kind to them. They had much to tell 
him, but after a while he checked their merry talk and 
said : 

' If I should never come back from this journey I fear 
that it may not be safe for you to stay here ; so directly 
there are no more hopes of my return go instantly and 
take the road eastwards till you reach a high mountain, 
which you must cross. Once over the mountain keep 
along by the side of a little bay till you come to two trees, 
one green and the other red, standing in a thicket, and so 
far back from the road that without looking for them you 
would never see them. Hide each in the trunk of one 
of the trees and there you will be safe from all your 

With these words the king bade them farewell and 
entered sadly into his ship. For a few days the wind 
was fair, and everything seemed going smoothly ; then, 
suddenly, a gale sprang up, and a fearful storm of thunder 
and lightning, such as had never happened within the 
memory of man. In spite of the efforts of the frightened 
sailors the vessel was driven on the rocks, and not a man 
on board was saved. 

That very night Prince Sigurd had a dream, in which 
he thought his father appeared to him in dripping clothes, 
and, taking the crown from his head, laid it at his son's 
feet, leaving the room as silently as he had entered it. 

Hastily the prince awoke his sister Lineik, and they 
agreed that their father must be dead, and that they must 
lose no time in obeying his orders and putting themselves 
in safety. So they collected their jewels and a few 
clothes and left the house without being observed by 

c Q 


They hurried on till they arrived at the mountain 
without once looking back. Then Sigurd glanced round 
and saw that their stepmother was following them, with 
an expression on her face which made her uglier than the 
ugliest old witch. Between her and them lay a thick 
wood, and Sigurd stopped for a moment to set it on fire ; 
then he and his sister hastened on more swiftly than 
before, till they reached the grove with the red and green 
trees, into which they jumped, and felt that at last they 
were safe. 

Now, at that time there reigned over Greece a king 
who was very rich and powerful, although his name has 
somehow been forgotten. He had two children, a son 
and a daughter, who were more beautiful and accom- 
plished than any Greeks had been before, and they were 
the pride of their father's heart. 

The prince had no sooner grown out of boyhood 
than he prevailed on his father to make war during the 
summer months on a neighbouring nation, so as to give him 
a chance of making himself famous. In winter, however, 
when it was difficult to get food and horses in that wild 
country, the army was dispersed, and the prince returned 

During one of these wars he had heard reports of the 
Princess Lineik's beauty, and he resolved to seek her out, 
and to ask for her hand in marriage. x\U this Blauvor, the 
queen, found out by means of her black arts, and when 
the prince drew near the capital she put a splendid dress 
on her own daughter and then went to meet her guest. 

She bade him welcome to her palace, and when they 
had finished supper she told him of the loss of her hus- 
band, and how there was no one left to govern the king- 
dom but herself. 

1 But where is the Princess Lineik ? ' asked the 
prince when she had ended her tale. 

'Here,' answered the queen, bringing forward the 
girl, whom she had hitherto kept in the background. 


The prince looked at her and was rather disappointed. 
The maiden was pretty enough, but not much out of the 

' Oh, you must not wonder at her pale face and heavy 
eyes/ said the queen hastily, for she saw what was passing 
in his mind. ' She has never got over the loss of both 
father and mother.' 

* That shows a good heart,' thought the prince ; ' and 
when she is happy her beauty will soon come back.' And 
without any further delay he begged the queen to consent 
to their betrothal, for the marriage must take place in his 
own country. 

The queen was enchanted. She had hardly expected 
to succeed so soon, and she at once set about her prepara- 
tions. Indeed she wished to travel with the young couple, - 
to make sure that nothing should go wrong ; but here the 
prince was firm, that he would take no one with him but 
Laufer, whom he thought was Lineik. 

They soon took leave of the queen, and set sail in a 
splendid ship ; but in a short time a dense fog came on, 
and in the dark the captain steered out of his course, and 
they found themselves in a bay which was quite strange 
to all the crew. The prince ordered a boat to be lowered, 
and went on shore to look about him, and it was not long 
before he noticed the two beautiful trees, quite different 
from any that grew in Greece. Calling one of the sailors, 
he bade him cut them down, and carry them on board 
the ship. This was done, and as the sky was now clear 
they put out to sea, and arrived in Greece without any 
more adventures. 

The news that the prince had brought home a bride 
had gone before them, and they were greeted with flowery 
arches and crowns of coloured lights. The king and 
queen met them on the steps of the palace, and conducted 
the girl to the women's house, where she would have to 
remain until her marriage. The prince then went to his 



own rooms and ordered that the trees should be brought 
in to him. 

The next morning the prince bade his attendants bring 
his future bride to his own apartments, and when she came 
he gave her silk which she was to weave into three robes — 
one red, one green, and one blue — and these must all be 
ready before the wedding. The blue one was to be clone 
first and the green last, and this was to be the most 
splendid of all, ' for I will wear it at our marriage/ said he. 

Left alone, Laufer sat and stared at the heap of 
shining silk before her. She did not know how to weave, 
and burst into tears as she thought that everything would 
be discovered, for Lineik's skill in weaving was as famous 
as her beauty. As she sat with her face hidden and her 
body shaken by sobs, Sigurd in his tree heard her and 
was moved to pity. ' Lineik, my sister,' he called, softly, 
1 Laufer is weeping ; help her, I pray you.' 

' Have you forgotten the wrongs her mother did to 
us ? ' answered Lineik, ' and that it is owing to her that 
we are banished from home ? ' 

But she was not really unforgiving, and very soon she 
slid quietly out of her hiding-place, and taking the silk 
from Laufer's hands began to weave it. So quick and 
clever was she that the blue dress was not only woven 
but embroidered, and Lineik was safe back in her tree 
before the prince returned. 

' It is the most beautiful work I have ever seen,' said 
he, taking up a bit. ' And I am sure that the red one 
will be still better, because the stuff is richer,' and with a 
low bow he left the room. 

Laufer had hoped secretly that when the prince had 
seen the blue dress finished he would have let her off the 
other two ; but when she found she was expected to fulfil 
the whole task, her heart sank and she began to cry 
loudly. Again Sigurd heard her, and begged Lineik to 
come to her help, and Lineik, feeling sorry for her distress, 
wove and embroidered the second dress as she had done 


the first, mixing gold thread and precious stones till you 
could hardly see the red of the stuff. When it was done 
she glided into her tree just as the prince came in, 

* You are as quick as you are clever,' said he, ad- 
miringly. ' This looks as if it had been embroidered by 
the fairies ! But as the green robe must outshine the 
other two I will give you three days in which to finish it. 
After it is ready we will be married at once/ 

Now, as he spoke, there rose up in Laufer's mind all 
the unkind things that she and her mother had done to 
Lineik. Could she hope that they would be forgotten, 
and that Lineik would come to her rescue for the third 
time? And perhaps Lineik, who had not forgotten the 
past either, might have left her alone, to get on as best 
she could, had not Sigurd, her brother, implored her to 
help just once more. So Lineik again slid out of her tree, 
and, to Laufer's great relief, set herself to work. When 
the shining green silk was ready she caught the sun's 
rays and the moon's beams on the point of her needle 
and wove them into a pattern such as no man had ever 
seen. But it took a long time, and on the third morning, 
just as she was putting the last stitches into the last 
flower the prince came in. 

Lineik jumped up quickly, and tried to get past him 
back to her tree ; but the folds of the silk were wrapped 
round her, and she would have fallen had not the prince 
caught her. 

1 1 have thought for some time that all was not quite 
straight here,' said he. ' Tell me who you are, and where 
you come from ? ' 

Lineik then told her name and her story. When she 
had ended the prince turned angrily to Laufer, and 
declared that, as a punishment for her wicked lies, she 
deserved to die a shameful death. 

But Laufer fell at his feet and begged for mercy. It 
was her mother's fault, she said : ' It was she, and not I, 
who passed me off as the Princess Lineik. The only lie 


I have ever told you was about the robes, and I do not 
deserve death for that.' 

She was still on her knees when Prince Sigurd entered 
the room. He prayed the Prince of Greece to forgive 
Laufer, which he did, on condition that Lineik would 
consent to marry him. ' Not till my stepmother is dead,' 
answered she, ' for she has brought misery to all that 
came near her.' Then Laufer told them that Blauvor 
was not the wife of a king, but an ogress who had stolen 
her from a neighbouring palace and had brought her up 
as her daughter. And besides being an ogress she was 
also a witch, and by her black arts had sunk the ship in 
which the father of Sigurd and Lineik had set sail. It 
was she who had caused the disappearance of the courtiers, 
for which no one could account, by eating them during 
the night, and she hoped to get rid of all the people in the 
country, and then to fill the land with ogres and ogresses 
like herself. 

So Prince Sigurd and the Prince of Greece collected 
an army swiftly, and marched upon the town where 
Blauvor had her palace. They came so suddenly that 
no one knew of it, and if they had, Blauvor had eaten 
most of the strong men ; and others, fearful of something 
they could not tell what, had secretly left the place. 
Therefore she was easily captured, and the next day was 
beheaded in the market-place. Afterwards the two 
princes marched back to Greece. 

Lineik had no longer any reason for putting off her 
wedding, and married the Prince of Greece at the same 
time that Sigurd married the princess. And Laufer re- 
mained with Lineik as her friend and sister, till they 
found a husband for her in a great nobleman ; and all three 
couples lived happily until they died. 

[From Isliindische Mahrchen Poestion Wien.~\ 



Once upon a time there lived a man who dwelt with his 
wife in a little hut, far away from any neighbours. But 
they did not mind being alone, and would have been 
quite happy, if it had not been for a marten, who came 
every night to their poultry yard, and carried off one of 
their fowls. The man laid all sorts of traps to catch the 
thief, but instead of capturing the foe, it happened that 
one day he got caught himself, and falling down, struck 
his head against a stone, and was killed. 

Not long after the marten came by on the look out for 
his supper. Seeing the dead man lying there, he said to 
himself : ' That is a prize, this time I have done well ' ; 
and dragging the body with great difficulty to the sledge 
which was waiting for him, drove off with his booty. He 
had not driven far when he met a squirrel, who bowed 
and said : ' Good-morning, godfather ! what have you got 
behind you ? ' 

The marten laughed and answered : ' Did you ever 
hear anything so strange ? The old man that you see 
here set traps about his hen-house, thinking to catch me ; 
but he fell into his own trap, and broke his own neck. 
He is very heavy ; I wish you would help me to draw 
the sledge.' The squirrel did as he- was asked, and the 
sledge moved slowly along. 

By-and-by a hare came running across a field, but 
stopped to see what wonderful thing was coming. 
1 What have you got there ? ' she asked, and the marten 
told his story and begged the hare to help them pull. 


The hare pulled her hardest, and after a while they were 
joined by a fox, and then by a wolf, and at length a bear 
was added to the company, and he was of more use than 
all the other five beasts put together. Besides, when the 
whole six had supped off the man he was not so heavy 
to draw. 

The worst of it was that they soon began to get 
hungry again, and the wolf, who was the hungriest of all, 
said to the rest : 

' What shall we eat now, my friends, as there is no 
more man ? ' 

' I suppose we shall have to eat the smallest of us,' 
replied the bear, and the marten turned round to seize the 
squirrel who was much smaller than any of the rest. But 
the squirrel ran up a tree like lightning, and the marten 
remembering, just in time, that he was the next in size, 
slipped quick as thought into a hole in the rocks. 

' What shall we eat now ? ' asked the wolf again, when 
he had recovered from his surprise. 

1 We must eat the smallest of us,' repeated the bear, 
stretching out a paw towards the hare ; but the hare was 
not a hare for nothing, and before the paw had touched 
her, she had darted deep into the wood. 

Now that the squirrel, the marten, and the hare had 
all gone, the fox was the smallest of the three who were 
left, and the wolf and the bear explained that they were 
very sorry, but they would have to eat him. Michael, the 
fox, did not run away as the others had done, but smiled 
in a friendly manner, and remarked : ' Things taste so stale 
in a valley ; one's appetite is so much better up on a 
mountain.' The wolf and the bear agreed, and they 
turned out of the hollow where they had been walking, 
and chose a path that led up the mountain side. The 
fox trotted cheerfully by his two big companions, but on 
the way he managed to whisper to the wolf : ' Tell me, 
Peter, when I am eaten, what will you have for your next 
dinner ? ' 



This simple question seemed to put out the wolf very 
much. What would they have for their next dinner, and, 
what was more important still, who would there be to eat 
it ? They had made a rule always to dine off the smallest 


of the party, and when the fox was gone, why of course, 
he was smaller than the bear. 

These thoughts flashed quickly through his head, 
and he said hastily : 


1 Dear brothers, would it not be better for us to live 
together as comrades, and everyone to hunt for the com- 
mon dinner ? Is not my plan a good one ? ' 

1 It is the best thing I have ever heard,' answered 
the fox ; and as they were two to one the bear had to be 
content, though in his heart he would much have preferred 
a good dinner at once to any friendship. 

For a few days all went well ; there was plenty of 
game in the forest, and even the wolf had as much to eat 
as he could wish. One morning the fox as usual was 
going his rounds when he noticed a tall, slender tree, with 
a magpie's nest in one of the top branches. Now the 
fox was particularly fond of young magpies, and he set 
about making a plan by which he could have one for 
dinner. At last he hit upon something which he thought 
would do, and accordingly he sat down near the tree and 
began to stare hard at it. 

' What are you looking at, Michael ? ' asked the 
magpie, who was watching him from a bough. 

' I'm looking at this tree. It has just struck me what 
a good tree it would be to cut my new snow-shoes out of.' 
But at this answer the magpie screeched loudly, and 
exclaimed : ' Oh, not this tree, dear brother, I implore 
you ! I have built my nest on it, and my young ones are 
not yet old enough to fly.' 

1 It will not be easy to find another tree that would 
make such good snow-shoes,' answered the fox, cocking 
his head on one side, and gazing at the tree thoughtfully ; 
'but I do not like to be ill-natured, so if you will give 
me one of your young ones I will seek my snow-shoes 

Not knowing what to do the poor magpie had to agree, 
and flying back, with a heavy heart, he threw one of his 
young ones out of the nest. The fox seized it in his 
mouth and ran off in triumph, while the magpie, though 
deeply grieved for the loss of his little one, found some 
comfort in the thought that only a bird of extraordinary 


wisdom would have dreamed of saving the rest by the 
sacrifice of the one. But what do you think happened ? 
Why, a few days later, Michael the fox might have 
been seen sitting under the very same tree, and a 
dreadful pang shot through the heart of the magpie as he 
peeped at him from a hole in the nest. 

' What are you looking at ? ' he asked in a trembling 

' At this tree. I was just thinking what good snow- 
shoes it would make,' answered the fox in an absent voice, 
as if he was not thinking of what he was saying. 

' Oh, my brother, my dear little brother, don't do that,' 
cried the magpie, hopping about in his anguish. ' You 
know you promised only a few days ago that you would 
get your snow-shoes elsewhere.' 

1 So I did ; but though I have searched through the 
whole forest, there is not a single tree that is as good as 
this. I am very sorry to put you out, but really it is not 
my fault. The only thing I can do for you is to offer to 
give up my snow-shoes altogether if you will throw me 
down one of your young ones in exchange.' 

And the poor magpie, in spite of his wisdom, was 
obliged to throw another of his little ones out of the nest ; 
and this time he was not able to console himself with the 
thought that he had been much cleverer than other people. 

He sat on the edge of his nest, his head drooping and 
his feathers all ruffled, looking the picture of misery. 
Indeed he was so different from the gay, jaunty magpie 
whom every creature in the forest knew, that a crow who 
was flying past, stopped to inquire what was the matter. 
' Where are the two young ones who are not in the nest ? ' 
asked he. 

' I had to give them to the fox/ replied the magpie in 
a quivering voice ; ' he has been here twice in the last 
week, and wanted to cut down my tree for the purpose of 
making snow-shoes out of it, and the only way I could 
buy him off was by giving him two of my young ones.' 


Oh, you fool,' cried the crow, 'the fox was only trying 
to frighten you. He could not have cut down the tree, 
for he has neither axe nor knife. Dear me, to think that 
you have sacrificed your young ones for nothing ! Dear, 
dear ! how could you be so very foolish ! ' And the crow 
flew away, leaving the magpie overcome with shame and 

The next morning the fox came to his usual place in 
front of the tree, for he was hungry, and a nice young 
magpie would have suited him very well for dinner. But 
this time there was no cowering, timid magpie to do his 
bidding, but a bird with his head erect and a determined 

1 My good fox/ said the magpie — putting his head on 
one side and looking very wise — ' my good fox, if you 
take my advice, you will go home as fast as you can. 
There is no use your talking about making snow-shoes 
out of this tree, when you have neither knife nor axe to 
cut it down with ! ' 

' Who has been teaching you wisdom?' asked the fox, 
forgetting his manners in his surprise at this new turn of 

1 The crow, who paid me a visit yesterday,' answered 
the magpie. 

' The crow was it ? ' said the fox, ' well, the crow had 
better not meet me for the future, or it may be the worse 
for him.' 

As Michael, the cunning beast, had no desire to con- 
tinue the conversation, he left the forest ; but when he 
came to the high road he laid himself at full length on 
the ground, stretching himself out, just as if he was dead. 
Very soon he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, that 
the crow was flying towards him, and he kept stiller and 
stiffer than ever, with his tongue hanging out of his 
mouth. The crow, who wanted her supper very badly, 
hopped quickly towards him, and was stooping forward 
to peck at his tongue when the fox gave a snap, and 


caught him by the wing. The crow knew that it was of no 
use struggling, so he said : 

' Ah, brother, if you are really going to eat me, do it, 
I beg of you, in good style. Throw me first over this 
precipice, so that my feathers may be strewn here and 
there, and that all who see them may know that your 
cunning is greater than mine.' This idea pleased the 
fox, for he had not yet forgiven the crow for depriving 
him of the young magpies, so he carried the crow to 
the edge of the precipice and threw him over, intend- 
ing to go round by a path he knew and pick him up 
at the bottom. But no sooner had the fox let the 
crow go than he soared up into the air, and hovering just 
out of reach of his enemy's jaws, he cried with a laugh : 
1 Ah, fox ! you know well how to catch, but you cannot 

With his tail between his legs, the fox slunk into the 
forest. He did not know where to look for a dinner, as 
he guessed that the crow would have flown back before 
him, and put every one on their guard. The notion of 
going to bed supperless was very unpleasant to him, and 
he was wondering what in the world he should do, when 
he chanced to meet with his old friend the bear. 

This poor animal had just lost his wife, and was 
going to get some one to mourn over her, for he felt her 
loss greatly. He had hardly left his comfortable cave 
when he had come across tlue wolf, who inquired where 
he was going. ' I am going to find a mourner,' answered 
the bear, and told his story. 

' Oh, let me mourn for you,' cried the wolf. 

' Do you understand how to howl ? ' said the bear. 

' Oh, certainly, godfather, certainly,' replied the wolf ; 
but the bear said he should like to have a specimen of his 
howling, to make sure that he knew his business. So 
the wolf broke forth in his song of lament : ' Hu, hu, hu, 
hum, hoh,' he shouted, and he made such a noise that the 
bear put up his paws to his ears, and begged him to stop. 


1 You have no idea how it is done. Be off with you,' said 
he angrily. 

A little further down the road the hare was resting in 
a ditch, but when she saw the bear, she carne out and 
spoke to him, and inquired why he looked so sad. The 
bear told her of the loss of his wife, and of his search 
after a mourner that could lament over her in the proper 
style. The hare instantly offered her services, but the 
bear took care to ask her to give him a proof of her talents, 
before he accepted them. ' Pu, pu, pu, pum, poh,' piped 
the hare ; but this time her voice was so small that the 
bear could hardly hear her. ' That is not what I want,' 
he said, ' I will bid you good morning.' 

It was after this that the fox came up, and he also 
was struck with the bear's altered looks, and stopped. 
' What is the matter with you, godfather ? ' asked he, ' and 
where are you going ? ' 

' I am going to find a mourner for my wife,' answered 
the bear, 

' Oh, do choose me,' cried the fox, and the bear looked 
at him thoughtfully. 

' Can you howl well ? ' he said. 

' Yes, beautifully, just listen,' and the fox lifted up his 
voice and sang — weeping : ' Lou, lou, lou • the famous 
spinner, the baker of good cakes, the prudent house- 
keeper is torn from her husband ! Lou, lou, lou ! she is 
gone ! she is gone ! ' 

' Now at last I have found some one who knows the 
art of lamentation,' exclaimed the bear, quite delighted ; 
and he led the fox back to his cave, and bade him begin 
his lament over the dead wife who was lying stretched 
out on her bed of grey moss. But this did not suit the 
fox at all. 

' One cannot wail properly in this cave,' he said, 
' it is much too damp. You had better take the body 
to the storehouse. It will sound much finer there.' So 
the bear carried his wife's body to the storehouse, 



while he himself went back to the cave to cook some pap 
for the mourner. From time to time he paused and 
listened for the sound of wailing, but he heard nothing. 
At last he went to the door of the storehouse, and called 
to the fox : 

' Why don't you howl, godfather ? What are you 
about ? ' 

y& TfiE 7f?> or rfTs iXTi 
ig lOmrt 

And the fox, who, instead of weeping over the dead 
bear, had been quietly eating her, answered : 

' There only remain now her legs and the soles of her 
feet. Give me five minutes more and they will be gone 
also ! ' 

•When the bear heard that he ran back for the kitchen 
ladle, to give the traitor the beating he deserved. But as 
he opened the door of the storehouse, Michael was ready 


for him, and slipping between his legs, dashed straight 
off into the forest. The bear, seeing that the traitor had 
escaped, flung the ladle after him, and it just caught the 
tip of his tail, and that is how there comes to be a spot of 
white on the tails of all foxes. 

[From Finnische Afahrchen.] 



Once upon a time there lived a man who had only one 
son, a lazy, stupid boy, who would never do anything he 
was told. When the father was dying, he sent for his 
son and told him that he would soon be left alone in the 
world, with no possessions but the small cottage they 
lived in and a pear tree which grew behind it, and that, 
whether he liked it or not, he would have to work, or else 
he would starve. Then the old man died. 

But the boy did not work ; instead, he idled about as 
before, contenting himself with eating the pears off his 
tree, which, unlike other pear trees before or since, bore 
fruit the whole year round. Indeed, the pears were so 
much finer than any you could get even in the autumn, 
that one day, in the middle of the winter, they attracted 
the notice of a fox who was creeping by. 

1 Dear me ; what lovely pears ! ' he said to the youth, 
' Do give me a basket of them. It will bring you luck ! ' 

' Ah, little fox, but if I give you a basketful, what 
am I to eat ? ' asked the boy, 

1 Oh, trust me, and do what I tell you/ said the fox ; 
1 1 know it will bring you luck.' So the boy got up and 
picked some of the ripest pears and put them into a rush 
basket. The fox thanked him, and, taking the basket in 
his mouth, trotted off to the king's palace and made his 
way straight to the king. 

' Your Majesty, my master sends you a few of his best 



pears, and begs you will graciously accept them,' he said, 
laying the basket at the feet of the king. 

1 Pears ! at this season ? ' cried the king, peering down 
to look at them ; ' and, pray, who is your master ? ' 

' The Count Piro,' answered the fox. 

1 But how does he manage to get pears in mid- 
winter ? ' asked the king. 

' Oh, he has everything he wants,' replied the fox ; ' he 
is richer even than you are, your Majesty.' 

' Then what can I send him in return for his pears ? ' 
said the king. 

' Nothing, your Majesty, or you would hurt his feel- 
ings,' answered the fox. 

' Well, tell him how heartily I thank him, and how 
much I shall enjoy them.' And the fox went away. 

He trotted back to the cottage with his empty basket 
and told his tale, but the youth did not seem as pleased 
to hear as the fox was to tell. 

' But, my dear little fox,' said he, ' you have brought 
me nothing in return, and I am so hungry ! ' 

' Let me alone/ replied the fox ; ' I know what I am 
doing. You will see, it will bring you luck.' 

A few days after this the fox came back again. 

' I must have another basket of pears,' said he. 

1 Ah, little fox, what shall I eat if you take away all 
my pears ? ' answered the youth. 

' Be quiet, it will be all right,' said the fox ; and taking 
a bigger basket than before, he filled it quite full of pears. 
Then he picked it up in his mouth, and trotted off to the 

' Your Majesty, as you seemed to like the first basket 
of pears, I have brought you some more,' said he, ' with 
my master, the Count Piro's humble respects.' 

' Now, surely it is not possible to grow such pears 
with deep snow on the ground ? ' cried the king. 

' Oh, that never affects them,' answered the fox lightly ; 
' he is rich enough to do anything. But to-day he sends 


me to ask if you will give him your daughter in mar- 
riage ? ' 

' If he is so much richer than I am/ said the king, ' I 
shall be obliged to refuse. My honour would not permit 
me to accept his offer.' 

' Oh, your Majesty, you must not think that,' replied 
the fox ; ' and do not let the question of a dowry trouble 
you. The Count Piro would not dream of asking any- 
thing but the hand of the princess.' 

' Is he really so rich that he can do without a dowry ? ' 
asked the king. 

' Did I not tell your Majesty that he was richer than 
you ? ' answered the fox reproachfully. 

1 Well, beg him to come here, that w T e may talk 
together,' said the king. 

So the fox went back to the young man and said : 
1 1 have told the king that you are Count Piro, and have 
asked his daughter in marriage.' 

' Oh, little fox, what have you done ? ' cried the youth 
in dismay ; ' when the king sees me he will order my 
head to be cut off/ 

1 Oh, no, he won't ! ' replied the fox ; ' just do as I tell 
you/ And he w T ent off to the town, and stopped at the 
house of the best tailor. 

1 My master, the Count Piro, begs that you will send 
him at once the finest coat that you have in your 
shop,' said the fox, putting on his grandest air, ' and if 
it fits him I will call and pay for it to-morrow ! Indeed, 
as he is in a great hurry, perhaps it might be as well if I 
took it round myself.' The tailor w T as not accustomed to 
serve counts, and he at once got out all the coats he had 
ready. The fox chose out a beautiful one of white and 
silver, bade the tailor tie it up in a parcel, and carrying 
the string in his teeth, he left the shop, and went to a 
horse-dealer's, whom he persuaded to send his finest horse 
round to the cottage, saying that the king had bidden his 
master to the palace. 


Very unwillingly the young man put on the coat and 
mounted the horse, and rode up to meet the king, with 
the fox running before him. 

* What am I to say to his Majesty, little fox ? ' he asked 
anxiously ; ' you know that I have never spoken to a king 

' Say nothing,' answered the fox, 'but leave the talking 
to me. " Good morning, your Majesty," will be all that 
is necessary for you.' 

By this time they had reached the palace, and the 
king came to the door to receive Count Piro, and led him 
to the great hall, where a feast was spread. The princess 
was already seated at the table, but w T as as dumb as 
Count Piro himself. 

1 The Count speaks very little,' the king said at last to 
the fox, and the fox answered : ' He has so much to think 
about in the management of his property that he cannot 
afford to talk like ordinary people.' The king was quite 
satisfied, and they finished dinner, after which Count Piro 
and the fox took leave. 

The next morning the fox came round again. 

1 Give me another basket of pears,' he said, 

* Very well, little fox ; but remember it may cost me 
my life,' answered the youth. 

' Oh, leave it to me, and do as I tell you, and you 
will see that in the end it will bring you luck,' answered 
the fox ; and plucking the pears he took them up to the 

' My master, Count Piro, sends you these pears,' he 
said, * and asks for an answer to his proposal.' 

1 Tell the count that the wedding can take place 
whenever he pleases,' answered the king, and, filled with 
pride, the fox trotted back to deliver his message. 

1 But I can't bring the princess here, little fox ? ' cried 
the young man in dismay. 

' You leave everything to me/ answered the fox ; ' have 
I not managed well so far ? ' 

The little fox: Jria.htens ttie Ogre & Ws wVfe ./© 


And up at the palace preparations were made for a 

grand wedding, and the youth was married to the princess. 

After a week of feasting, the fox said to the king: 

I My master wishes to take his young bride home to his 
own castle/ 

1 Very well, I will accompany them,' replied the king ; 
and he ordered his courtiers and attendants to get ready, 
and the best horses in his stable to be brought out for 
himself, Count Piro and the princess. So they all set out, 
and rode across the plain, the little fox running before 

He stopped at the sight of a great flock of sheep, 
which was feeding peacefully on the rich grass. ' To 
whom do these sheep belong ? ' asked he of the shepherd. 
' To an ogre,' replied the shepherd. 

1 Hush/ said the fox in a mysterious manner. ' Do 
you see that crowd of armed men riding along ? If you 
were to tell them that those sheep belonged to an ogre, 
they would kill them, and then the ogre would kill you ! 
If they ask, just say the sheep belong to Count Piro ; it 
will be better for everybody.' And the fox ran hastily 
on, as he did not wish to be seen talking to the shepherd. 

Very soon the king came up. 

1 What beautiful sheep ! ' he said, drawing up his horse. 

I I have none so fine in my pastures. Whose are they ? ' 

'Count Piro's,' answered the shepherd, who did not 
know the king. 

' Well, he must be a very rich man,' thought the king 
to himself, and rejoiced that he had such a wealthy son- 

Meanwhile the fox had met with a huge herd of pigs, 
snuffling about the roots of some trees. 

'To whom do these pigs belong?' he asked of the 

1 To an ogre,' replied he. 

' Hush ! ' whispered the fox, though nobody could 
hear him ; ' do you see that troop of armed men riding 


towards us ? If you tell them that the pigs belong to the 
ogre they will kill them, and then the ogre will kill you ! 
If they ask, just say that the pigs belong to Count Piro ; 
it will be better for everybody.' And he ran hastily on. 

Soon after the king rode up. 

' What fine pigs ! ' he said, reining in his horse. ' They 
are fatter than any I have got on my farms.- Whose are 
they ? ' 

' Count Piro's,' answered the swineherd, who did not 
know the king ; and again the king felt he was lucky to 
have such a rich son-in-law. 

This time the fox ran faster than before, and in a 
flowery meadow he found a troop of horses feeding. 
1 Whose horses are these ? ' he asked of the man who was 
watching them. 

1 An ogre's,' replied he. 

4 Hush ! ' whispered the fox, ' do you see that crowd 
of armed men coming towards us ? If you tell them the 
horses belong to an ogre they will drive them off, and 
then the ogre will kill you ! If they ask, just say they are 
Count Piro's ; it will be better for everybody.' And he 
ran on again. 

In a few minutes the king rode up. 

* Oh, what lovely creatures ! how I wish they were 
mine ! ' he exclaimed. * Whose are they ? ' 

1 Count Piro's,' answered the man, who did not know 
the king ; and the king's heart leapt as he thought that 
if they belonged to his rich son-in-law they were as good 
as his. 

At last the fox came to the castle of the ogre himself. 
He ran up the steps, with tears falling from his eyes, and 
crying : 

1 Oh, you poor, poor people, what a sad fate is yours ! ' 

' What has happened ? ' asked the ogre, trembling 
with fright. 

1 Do you see that troop of horsemen who are riding 
along the road ? They are sent by the king to kill you ! ' 


1 Oh, dear little fox, help us, we implore you ! ' cried 
the ogre and his wife. 

1 Well, I will do what I can,' answered the fox. ' The 
best place is for you both to hide in the big oven, and 
when the soldiers have gone by I will let you out.' 

The ogre and ogress scrambled into the oven as quick 
as thought, and the fox banged the door on them ; just 
as he did so the king came up. 

1 Do us the honour to dismount, your Majesty,' said 
the fox, bowing low. ' This is the palace of Count Piro ! ' 

' Why it is more splendid than my own ! ' exclaimed 
the king, looking round on all the beautiful things that 
filled the hall. But why are there no servants ? ' 

' His Excellency the Count Piro wished the princess 
to choose them for herself/ answered the fox, and the 
king nodded his approval. He then rode on, leaving the 
bridal pair in the castle. But when it was dark and all 
was still, the fox crept downstairs and lit the kitchen fire, 
and the ogre and his wife were burned to death. The 
next morning the fox said to Count Piro : 

1 Now that you are rich and happy, you have no more 
need of me ; but, before I go, there is one thing I must 
ask of you in return : when I die, promise me that you 
will give me a magnificent coffin, and bury me with due 

1 Oh, little, little fox, don't talk of dying,' cried the 
princess, nearly weeping, for she had taken a great liking 
to the fox. 

After some time the fox thought he would see if the 
Count Piro was really grateful to him for all he had done, 
and went back to the castle, where he lay down on the 
door-step, and pretended to be dead. The princess was 
just going out for a walk, and directly she saw him lying 
there, she burst into tears and fell on her knees beside him. 

1 My dear little fox, you are not dead,' she wailed ; 
1 you poor, poor little creature, you shall have the finest 
coffin in the world ! ' 


1 A coffin for an animal ? ' said Count Piro. ' What 
nonsense ! just take him by the leg and throw him into 
the ditch.' 

Then the fox sprang up and cried : ' You wretched, 
thankless beggar ; have you forgotten that you owe all 
your riches to me ? ' 

Count Piro was frightened when he heard these words, 
as he thought that perhaps the fox might have power 
to take away the castle, and leave him as poor as when 
he had nothing to eat but the pears off his tree. So he 
tried to soften the fox's anger, saying that he had only 
spoken in joke, as he had known quite well that he was 
not really dead. For the sake of the princess, the fox 
let himself be softened, and he lived in the castle for 
many years, and played with Count Piro's children. 
And when he actually did die, his coffin was made of 
silver, and Count Piro and his wife followed him to the 

[From Sicilianische Jfah?xhen.] 



In a tiny cottage near the king's palace there once lived 
an old man, his wife, and his son, a very lazy fellow, who 
would never do a stroke of work. He could not be got even 
to look after their one cow, but left her to look after her- 
self, while he lay on a bank and went to sleep in the sun. 
For a long time his father bore with him, hoping that as 
he grew older he might gain more sense ; but at last the 
old man's patience was worn out, and he told his son that 
he should not stay at house in idleness, and must go out 
into the world to seek his fortune. 

The young man saw that there was no help for it, and 
he set out with a wallet full of food over his shoulder. 
At length he came to a large house, at the door of which 
he knocked. 

' What do you want ? ' asked the old man who opened 
it. And the youth told him how his father had turned 
him out of his house because he was so lazy and stupid, 
and he needed shelter for the night, 

' That you shall have,' replied the man ; ' but to-morrow 
I shall give you some work to do, for you must know 7 that 
I am the chief herdsman of the king.' 

The youth made no answer to this. He felt, if he was 
to be made to work after all, that he might as well have 
stayed where he was. But as he did not see any other 
way of getting a bed, he went slowly in. 

The herdsman's two daughters and their mother were 
sitting at supper, and invited him to join them. Nothing 
more was said about work, and when the meal was over 
they all went to bed. 


In the morning, when the young man was dressed, 
the herdsman called to him and said : 

' Now listen, and I will tell you what you have to do.' 

' What is it ? ' asked the youth, sulkily. 

' Nothing less than to look after two hundred pigs/ 
was the reply. 

' Oh, I am used to that,' answered the youth. 

' Yes ; but this time you will have to do it properly,' said 
the herdsman ; and he took the youth to the place where 
the pigs were feeding, and told him to drive them to the 
woods on the side of the mountain. This the young man 
did, but as soon as they reached the outskirts of the moun- 
tain they grew quite wild, and would have run away alto- 
gether, had they not luckily gone towards a narrow ravine, 
from which the youth easily drove them home to his 
father's cottage. 

' Where do all these pigs come from, and how did you 
get them ? ' asked the old man in surprise, when his son 
knocked at the door of the hut he had left only the day 

' They belong to the king's chief herdsman,' answered 
his son. ' He gave them to me to look after, but I knew 
I could not do it, so I drove them straight to you. Now 
make the best of your good fortune, and kill them and 
hang them up at once.' 

' What are you talking about ? ' cried the father, pale 
with horror. ' We should certainly both be put to death 
if I did any such thing.' 

' No, no ; do as I tell you, and I will get out of it 
somehow,' replied the young man. And in the end he had 
his way. The pigs were killed, and laid side by side in a 
row. Then he cut off the tails and tied them together 
with a piece of cord, and swinging the bundle over his 
back, he returned to the place where they should have 
been feeding. Here there was a small swamp, which was 
just what he wanted, and finding a large stone, he fastened 
the rope to it, and sank it in the swamp, after which he 


arranged the tails carefully one by one, so that only their 
points were seen sticking out of the water. When every- 
thing was in order, he hastened home to his master with 
such a sorrowful face that the herdsman saw at once that 
something dreadful had happened. 

1 Where are the pigs ? ' asked he. 

* Oh, don't speak of them ! ' answered the young man ; 
' I really can hardly tell you. The moment they got into 
the field they became quite mad, and each ran in a dif- 
ferent direction. I ran too, hither and thither, but as. fast 
as I caught one, another was off, till I was in despair. At 
last, however, I collected them all and was about to drive 
them- back, when suddenly they rushed down the hill into 
the swamp, where they vanished completely, leaving only 
the points of their tails, which you can see for yourself.' 

' You have made up that story very well,' replied the 

' No, it is the real truth ; come with me and I'll prove 
it.' And they went together to the spot, and there sure 
enough were the points of the tails sticking up out of the 
water. The herdsman laid hold of the nearest, and pulled 
at it with all his might, but it was no use, for the stone 
and the rope held them all fast. He called to the young 
man to help him, but the two did not succeed any better 
than the one had done. 

I Yes, your story was true after all ; it is a wonderful 
thing,' said the herdsman. ' But I see it is no fault of 
yours, and I must put up with my loss as well as I can. 
Now let us return home, for it is time for supper. 

Next morning the herdsman said to the young man : 
1 1 have got some other work for you to do. To-day you 
must take a hundred sheep to graze ; but be careful that 
no harm befalls them.' 

I I will do my best,' replied the youth. And he opened 
the gate of the fold, where the sheep had been all night, 
and drove them out into the meadow. But in a short 
time they grew as wild as the pigs had done, and scattered 


in all directions. The young man could not collect them, 
try as he would, and he thought to himself that this was 
the punishment for his laziness in refusing to look after 
his father's one cow. 

At last, however, the sheep seemed tired of running 
about, and then the youth managed to gather them 
together, and drove them, as before, straight to his father's 

' Whose sheep are these, and what are they doing 
here ? ' asked the old man in wonder, and his son told 
him. But when the tale was ended the father shook his 

' Give up these bad ways and take them back to your 
master,' said he. 

' No, no,' answered the youth ; ' I am not so stupid as 
that ! We will kill them and have them for dinner.' 

1 You will lose your life if you do,' replied the father. 

1 Oh, I am not sure of that ! ' said the son, * and, 
anyway, I will have my will for once.' And he killed all 
the sheep and laid them on the grass. But he cut off the 
head of the ram which always led the flock and had bells 
round its horns. This he took back to the place where 
they should have been feeding, for here he had noticed a high 
rock, with a patch of green grass in the middle and two or 
three thick bushes growing on the edge. Up this rock he 
climbed with great difficulty, and fastened the ram's head 
to the bushes with a cord, leaving only the tips of the 
horns with the bells visible. As there was a soft breeze 
blowing, the bushes to which the head was tied moved 
gently, and the bells rang. When all was done to his 
liking he hastened quickly back to his master. 

1 Where are the sheep ? ' asked the herdsman as the 
young man ran panting up the steps. 

' Oh ! don't speak of them,' answered he. ' It is only 
by a miracle that I am here myself.' 

* Tell me at once what has happened,' said the herds- 
man sternly. 


The youth began to sob, and stammered out : ' I — I 
hardly know how to tell you I They — they — they were 
so — so troublesome — that I could not manage them at all. 
They — ran about in — in all directions, and I — I — ran 
after them and nearly died of fatigue. Then I heard a — 
a noise, which I — I thought was the wind. But — but — it 
was the sheep, which, be -before my very eyes, were carried 
straight up — up into the air. I stood watching them as 
if I was turned to stone, but there kept ringing in my 
ears the sound of the bells on the ram which led them.' 

1 That is nothing but a lie from beginning to end,' 
said the herdsman. 

' No, it is as true as that there is a sun in heaven/ 
answered the young man. 

' Then give me a proof of it,' cried his master. 

' Well, come with me,' said the youth. By this time 
it was evening and the dusk was falling. The young 
man brought the herdsman to the foot of the great rock, 
but it was so dark you could hardly see. Still the sound 
of sheep bells rang softly from above, and the herdsman 
knew them to be those he had hung on the horns of his 

' Do you hear ? ' asked the youth. 

'Yes, I hear ; you have spoken the truth, and I cannot 
blame you for what has happened. I must bear the loss 
as best as I can.' 

He turned and went home, followed by the young 
man, who felt highly pleased with his own cleverness. 

' I should not be surprised if the tasks I set you were 
too difficult, and that you were tired of them,' said the 
herdsman next morning ; ' but to-day I have something 
quite easy for you to do. You must look after forty oxen, 
and be sure you are very careful, for one of them has gold- 
tipped horns and hoofs, and the king reckons it among 
his greatest treasures.' 

The young man drove out the oxen into the meadow, 
and no sooner had they got there than, like the sheep and 
c s 


the pigs, they began to scamper in all directions, the 
precious bull being the wildest of all. As the youth 
stood watching them, not knowing what to do next, it 
came into his head that his father's cow was put out to 
grass at no great distance ; and he forthwith made such a 
noise that he quite frightened the oxen, who were easily 
persuaded to take the path he wished. When they heard 
the cow lowing they galloped all the faster, and soon 
they all arrived at his father's house. 

The old man was standing before the door of his hut 
when the great herd of animals dashed round a comer of 
the road, with his son and his own cow at their head. 

' Whose cattle are these, and why are they here ? ' he 
asked ; and his son told him the story. 

' Take them back to your master as soon as you 
can,' said the old man ; but the son only laughed, and 
said : 

' No, no ; they are a present to you ! They will make 
you fat ! ' 

For a long while the old man refused to have anything 
to do with such a wicked scheme ; but his son talked him 
over in the end, and they killed the oxen as they had killed 
the sheep and the pigs. Last of all they f came to the 
king's cherished ox. 

The son had a rope ready to cast round its horns, and 
throw it to the ground, but the ox was stronger than the 
rope, and soon tore it in pieces. Then it dashed away to 
the wood, the youth following ; over hedges and ditches 
they both went, till they reached the rocky pass which 
bordered the herdsman's land. Here the ox, thinking 
itself safe, stopped to rest, and thus gave the young man a 
chance to come up with it. Not knowing how to catch it, 
he collected all the wood he could find and made a circle 
of fire round the ox, who by this time had fallen asleep, 
and did not wake till the fire had caught its head, and it 
was too late for it to escape. Then the young man, who 
had been watching, ran home to his master. 


' You have been away a long while/ said the herds- 
man. ' Where are the cattle ? ' 

The young man gasped, and seemed as if he was 
unable to speak. At last he answered : 

r It is always the same story ! The oxen are — gone — 
gone ! ' 

1 G-g-gone ? ' cried the herdsman. ' Scoundrel, you 

' I am telling you the exact truth,' answered the young 
man. ' Directly we came to the meadow they grew so 
wild that I could not keep them together. Then the big 
ox broke away, and the others followed till they all 
disappeared down a deep hole into the earth. It seemed 
to me that I heard sounds of bellowing, and I thought I 
recognised the voice of the golden horned ox ; but when 
I got to the place from which the sounds had come, I 
could neither see nor hear anything in the hole itself, 
though there were traces of a fire all round it.' 

1 Wretch ! ' cried the herdsman, when he had heard 
this story, ' even if you did not lie before, you are lying 

' No, master, I am speaking the truth. Come and see 
for yourself.' 

' If I find you have deceived me, you are a dead man,' 
said the herdsman ; and they went out together. 

' What do you call that? ' asked the youth. And the 
herdsman looked and saw the traces of a fire, which 
seemed to have sprung up from under the earth. 

1 Wonder upon wonder,' he exclaimed, ' so you really 
did speak the truth after all ! Well, I cannot reproach 
you, though I shall have to pay heavily to my royal 
master for the value of that ox. But come, let us go 
home ! I will never set you to herd cattle again, hence- 
forward I will give you something easier to do/ 

' I have thought of exactly the thing for you,' said the 
herdsman as they walked along, ' and it is so simple that 



you cannot make a mistake. Just make me ten scythes, 
one for every man, for I want the grass mown in one of 
my meadows to-morrow.' 

At these words the youth's heart sank, for he had 
never been trained either as a smith or a joiner. How- 
ever, he dared not say no, but smiled and nodded. 

Slowly and sadly he went to bed, but he could not 
sleep, for wondering how the scythes were to be made. 
All the skill and cunning he had shown before was of 
no use to him now, and after thinking about the scythes 
for many hours, there seemed only one way open to him. 
So, listening to make sure that all was still, he stole away 
to his parents, and told them the whole story. When 
they had heard everything, they hid him where no one 
could find him. 

Time passed away, and the young man stayed at home 
doing all his parents bade him, and showing himself very 
different from what he had been before he went • out to 
see the world ; but one day he said to his father that he 
should like to marry, and have a house of his own. 

' When I served the king's chief herdsman,' added he, 
' I saw his daughter, and I am resolved to try if I cannot 
win her for my wife.' 

' It will cost you your life, if you do,' answered the 
father, shaking his head. 

I Well, I will do my best,' replied his son ; ' but first 
give me the sword which hangs over your bed ! ' 

The old man did not understand what good the sword 
would do, however he took it down, and the young man 
went his way. 

Late in the evening he arrived at the house of the 
herdsman, and knocked at the door, which was opened by 
a little boy. 

I I want to speak to your master,' said he. 

1 So it is you ? ' cried the herdsman, when he had 
received the message. ' Well, you can sleep here to-night 
if you wish,' 


1 1 have come for something else besides a bed,' replied 
the young man, drawing his sword, ' and if you do not 
promise to give me your youngest daughter as my wife I 
will stab you through the heart.' 

What could the poor man do but promise ? And he 
fetched his youngest daughter, who seemed quite pleased 
at the proposed match, and gave the youth her hand. 

Then the young man went home to his parents, and 
bade them get ready to welcome his bride. And when the 
wedding was over he told his father-in-law, the herdsman, 
what he had done with the sheep, and pigs, and cattle. 
By-and-by the story came to the king's ears, and he 
thought that a man who was so clever was just the man 
to govern the country ; so he made him his minister, and 
after the king himself there was no one so great as he, 

[From Islandische Mahrchen^ 



Once upon a time there lived an old man who had only- 
one son, whom he loved dearly ; but they were very poor, 
and often had scarcely enough to eat. Then the old man 
fell ill, and things grew worse than ever, so he called his 
son and said to him : 

' My dear boy, I have no longer any food to give you, 
and you must go into the world and get it for yourself. It 
does not matter what work you do, bat remember if you 
do it well and are faithful to your master, you will always 
have your reward.' 

So Peter put a piece of black bread in his knapsack, 
and strapping it on his back, took a stout stick in his 
hand, and set out to seek his fortune. For a long while 
he travelled on and on, and nobody seemed to want him ; 
but one day he met an old man, and being a polite youth, 
he took off his hat and said : * Good morning,' in a pleasant 
voice. 'Good morning,' answered the old man; 'and 
where are you going ? ' 

' I am wandering through the country trying to get 
work,' replied Peter. 

' Then stay with me, for I can give you plenty,' said 
the old man, and Peter stayed. 

His work did not seem hard, for he had only two 
horses and a cow to see after, and though he had been 
hired for a year, the year consisted of but three days, so 
that it was not long before he received his wages. In pay- 
ment the old man gave him a nut, and offered to keep, him 
for another year ; but Peter was home -sick ; and, besides, 


he would rather have been paid ever so small a piece of 
money than a nut ; for, thought he, nuts grow on every 
tree, and I can gather as many as I like. However, he 
did not say this to the old man, who had been kind to 
him, but just bade him farewell. 

The nearer Peter drew to his father's house the more 
ashamed he felt at having brought back such poor wages. 
What could one nut do for him ? Why, it would not buy 
even a slice of bacon. It was no use taking it home, he 
might as well eat it. So he sat down on a stone and 
cracked it with his teeth, and then took it out of his 
mouth to break off the shell. But who could ever guess 
what came out of that nut ? Why horses and oxen and 
sheep stepped out in such numbers that they seemed as 
if they would stretch to the world's end ! The sight gave 
Peter such a shock that he wrung his hands in dismay. 
What was he to do with all these creatures, where was he 
to put them ? He stood and gazed in terror, and at this 
moment Eisenkopf came by. 

1 What is the matter, young man ? ' asked he. 

1 Oh, my friend, there is plenty the matter,' answered 
Peter. ' I have gained a nut as my wages, and when I 
cracked it this crowd of beasts came out, and I don't 
know what to do with them all ! ' 

1 Listen to me, my son,' said Eisenkopf. * If you will 
promise never to marry I will drive them all back into 
the nut again.' 

In his trouble Peter would have promised far harder 
things than this, so he gladly gave the promise Eisenkopf 
asked for ; and at a whistle from the stranger the animals 
all began crowding into the nut again, nearly tumbling 
over each other in their haste. When the last foot had 
got inside, the two halves of the shell shut close. Then 
Peter put it in his pocket and went on to the house. 

No sooner had he reached it than he cracked his nut 
for the second time, and out came the horses, sheep, and 
oxen again. Indeed Peter thought that there were even 


more of them than before. The old man could not believe 
his eyes when he saw the multitudes of horses, oxen and 
sheep standing before his door. 

1 How did you come by all these ? ' he gasped, as soon 
as he could speak ; and the son told him the whole story, 
and of the* promise he had given Eisenkopf . 

The next day some of the cattle were driven to market 
and sold, and with the money the old man was able to buy 
some of the fields and gardens round his house, and in a 
few months had grown the richest and most prosperous 
man in the whole village. Everything seemed to turn to 
gold in his hands, till one day, when he and his son were 
sitting in the orchard watching their herds of cattle 
grazing in the meadows, he suddenly said : ' Peter, my 
boy, it is time that you were thinking of marrying.' 

' But, my dear father, I told you I can never marry, 
because of the promise I gave to Eisenkopf.' 

1 Oh, one promises here and promises there, but no 
one ever thinks of keeping such promises. If Eisenkopf 
does not like your marrying, he will have to put up with 
it all the same ! Besides, there stands in the stable a 
grey horse which is saddled night and day ; and if Eisen- 
kopf should show his face, you have only got to jump on 
the horse's back and ride away, and nobody on earth can 
catch you. When all is safe you will come back again, 
and we shall live as happily as two fish in the sea.' 

And so it all happened. The young man found a 
pretty, brown-skinned girl who was willing to have him 
for a husband, and the whole village came to the wedding 
feast. The music was at its gayest, and the dance at its 
merriest, when Eisenkopf looked in at the window. 

' Oh, ho, my brother ! what is going on here ? It has 
the air of being a wedding feast. Yet I fancied — was I 
mistaken? — that you had given me a promise that you 
never would marry.' But Peter had not waited for the 
end of this speech. Scarcely had he seen Eisenkopf than 
he darted like the wind to the stable and flung himself on 


the horse's back. In another moment he was away over 
the mountain, with Eisenkopf running fast behind him. 

On they went through thick forests where the sun 
never shone, over rivers so wide that it took a whole day 
to sail across them, up hills whose sides were all of glass ; 
on they went through seven times seven countries till 
Peter reined in his horse before the house of an old 

' Good day, mother,' said he, jumping down and open- 
ing the door. 

' Good day, my son,' answered she, ' and what are you 
doing here, at the world's end ? ' 

' I am flying for my life, mother, flying to the world 
which is beyond all worlds ; for Eisenkopf is at my 

' Come in and rest then, and have some food, for I 
have a little dog who will begin to howl when Eisenkopf 
is still seven miles off.' 

So Peter went in and warmed himself and ate and 
drank, till suddenly the dog began to howl. 

' Quick, my son, quick, you must go,' cried the old 
woman. And the lightning itself was not quicker than 

1 Stop a moment,' cried the old woman again, just as 
he was mounting his horse, ' take this napkin and this 
cake, and put them in your bag where you can get hold 
of them easily,' Peter took them and put them into his 
bag, and waving his thanks for her kindness, he was off 
like the wind. 

Bound and round he rode, through seven times seven 
countries, through forests still thicker, and rivers still wider, 
and mountains still more slippery than the others he had 
passed, till at length he reached a house where dwelt 
another old woman. 

' Good day, mother,' said he. 

1 Good day, my son ! What are you seeking here at 
the world's end ? ' 


1 1 am flying for my life, mother, flying to the world 
that is beyond all worlds, for Eisenkopf is at my heels.' 

' Come in, my son, and have some food. I have a 
little dog who will begin to howl when Eisenkopf is still 
seven miles off; so lie on this bed and rest yourself in 

Then she went to the kitchen and baked a number of 
cakes, more than Peter could have eaten in a whole 
month. He had not finished a quarter of them, when the 
dog began to howl. 

' Now, my son, you must go,' cried the old woman ; 
1 but first put these cakes and this napkin in your bag, 
where you can easily get at them.' So Peter thanked her 
and was off like the wind. 

On he rode, through seven times seven countries, till 
he came to the house of a third old woman, who welcomed 
him as the others had done. But when the dog howled, 
and Peter sprang up to go, she said, as she gave him the 
same gifts for his journey : ' You have now three cakes 
and three napkins, for I know that my sisters have each 
given you one. Listen to me, and do what I tell you. 
Eide seven days and nights straight before you, and on 
the eighth morning you will see a great fire. Strike it 
three times with the three napkins and it will part in two. 
Then ride into the opening, and when you are in the 
middle of the opening, throw the three cakes behind your 
back with your left hand.' 

Peter thanked her for her counsel, and was careful to 
do exactly all the old woman had told him. On the 
eighth morning he reached a fire so large that he could 
see nothing else on either side, but when he struck it with 
the napkins it parted, and stood on each hand like a wall. 
As he rode through the opening he threw the cakes 
behind him. From each cake there sprang a huge dog, 
and he gave them the names of World's-weight, Iron- 
strong, and Quick -ear. They bayed with joy at the sight 
of him, and as Peter turned to pat them, he beheld 


Eisenkopf at the edge of the fire, but the opening had 
closed up behind Peter, and he could not get through, 

* Stop, you promise-breaker/ shrieked he ; ' you have 
slipped through my hands once, but wait till I catch you 
again ! ' 

Then he lay down by the fire and watched to see what 
would happen. 

When Peter knew that he had nothing more to fear from 
Eisenkopf, he rode on slowly till he came to a small 
white house. Here he entered and found himself in a 
room where a grey-haired woman was spinning and a 
beautiful girl was sitting in the window combing her 
golden hair, 

' What brings you here, my son ? ' asked the old 

' I am seeking for a place, mother/ answered Peter, 

' Stay with me, then, for I need a servant,' said the 
old woman. 

' With pleasure, mother/ replied he. 

After that Peter's life was a very happy one. He 
sowed and ploughed all day, except now and then when 
he took his dogs and went to hunt. And whatever game 
he brought back the maiden with the golden hair knew 
how to dress it. 

One day the old woman had gone to the town to buy 
some flour, and Peter and the maiden were left alone 
in the house. They fell into talk, and she asked him 
where his home was, and how he had managed to come 
through the fire. Peter then told her the whole story, 
and of his striking the flames with the three napkins as 
he had been told to do. The maiden listened attentively 
and wondered in herself whether what he said was true. 
So after Peter had gone out to the fields, she crept up to 
his room and stole the napkins and then set off as fast as 
she could to the fire by a path she knew of over the hill. 

At the third blow she gave the flames divided, and 
Eisenkopf, who had been watching and hoping for a 


chance of this kind, ran down the opening and stood 
before her. At this sight the maiden was almost frightened 
to death, but with a great effort she recovered herself and 
ran home as fast as her legs would carry her, closely 
pursued by Eisenkopf, Panting for breath she rushed 
into the house and fell fainting on the floor ; but Eisenkopf 
entered behind her, and hid himself in the kitchen under 
the hearth. 

Not long after, Peter came in and picked up the three 
napkins which the maiden had dropped on the threshold. 
He wondered how they got there, for he knew he had 
left them in his room ; but what was his horror when he 
saw the form of the fainting girl lying where she had 
dropped, as still and white as if she had been dead. He 
lifted her up and carried her to her bed, where she soon 
revived, but she did not tell Peter about Eisenkopf, who 
had been almost crushed to death under the hearth-stone 
by the body of World's-weight. 

The next morning Peter locked up his dogs and went 
out into the forest alone. Eisenkopf, however, had seen 
him go, and followed so closely at his heels that Peter 
had barely time to clamber up a tall tree, where Eisenkopf 
could not reach him. ' Come down at once, you gallows- 
bird/ he cried. ' Have you forgotten your promise that 
you never would marry ? ' 

' Oh, I know it is all up with me,' answered Peter, 
1 but let me call out three times.' 

' You can call a hundred times if you like,' returned 
Eisenkopf, ' for now I have got you in my power, and 
you shall pay for what you have done.' 

' Iron-strong, World's-weight, Quick-ear, fly to my 
help ! ' cried Peter ; and Quick-ear heard, and said to his 
brothers : ' Listen, our master is calling us.' 

' You are dreaming, fool,' answered World's-weight ; 
' why he has not finished his breakfast. 5 And he gave 
Quick-ear a slap with his paw, for he was young and 
needed to be taught sense. 


'Iron-strong, World's-weight, Quick-ear, fly to my 
help ! ' cried Peter again. 

This time World's -weight heard also, and he said, 
' Ah, now our master is really calling.' 

' How silly you are ! ' answered Iron-strong ; ' you 
know that at this hour he is always eating.' And he 
gave World's-weight a cuff, because he was old enough to 
know better. 

Peter sat trembling on the tree dreading lest his dogs 
had never heard, or else that, having heard, they had 
refused to come. It was his last chance, so making a 
mighty effort he shrieked once more : 

' Iron-strong, World's-weight, Quick-ear, fly to my 
help, or I am a dead man ! ' 

And Iron-strong heard, and said : ' Yes, he is certainly 
calling, we must go at once.' And in an instant he had 
burst open the door, and all three were bounding away in 
the direction of the voice. When they reached the foot 
of the tree Peter just said : ' At him ! ' And in a few 
minutes there was nothing left of Eisenkopf. 

As soon as his enemy was dead Peter got down and 
returned to the house, where he bade farewell to the old 
woman and her daughter, who gave him a beautiful ring, 
all set with diamonds. It was really a magic ring, but 
neither Peter nor the maiden knew that. 

Peter's heart was heavy as he set out for home. He 
had ceased to love the wife whom he had left at his 
wedding feast, and his heart had gone out to the golden- 
haired girl. However, it was no use thinking of that, so 
he rode forward steadily. 

The fire had to be passed through before he had gone 
very far, and when he came to it, Peter shook the napkins 
three times in the flames and a passage opened for him. 
But then a curious thing happened ; the three dogs, who 
had followed at his heels all the way, now became three 
cakes again, which Peter put into his bag with the 
napkins. After that he stopped at the houses of the 


three old women, and gave each one back her napkin and 
her cake. 

* Where is my wife ? ' asked Peter, when he reached 

1 Oh, my dear son, why did you ever leave us ? After 
you had vanished, no one knew where, your poor wife 
grew more and more wretched, and would neither eat nor 
drink. Little by little she faded away, and a month ago 
we laid her in her grave, to hide her sorrows under the 

At this news Peter began to weep, for he had loved 
his wife before he went away and had seen the golden- 
haired maiden. 

He went sorrowfully about his work for the space of 
half a year, when, one night, he dreamed that he moved 
the diamond ring given him by the maiden from his right 
hand and put it on the wedding finger of the left. The 
dream was so real that he awoke at once and changed the 
ring from one hand to the other. And as he did so guess 
what he saw ? Why, the golden -haired girl standing 
before him. And he sprang up and kissed her, and said : 
1 Now you are mine for ever and ever, and when we die 
we will both be buried in one grave.' 

And so they were. 

[From Ungarische Hcihrchen,] 



Once upon a time there lived a man whose name was 
Abu Nowas, and he was a great favourite with the Sultan 
of the country, who had a palace in the same town where 
Abu Nowas dwelt. 

One day Abu Nowas came weeping into the hall of 
the palace where the Sultan was sitting, and said to him : 
' Oh, mighty Sultan, my wife is dead.' 

' That is bad news,' replied the Sultan ; ' I must get 
you another wife.' And he bade his Grand Yizir send for 
the Sultana. 

'This poor Abu Nowas has lost his wife,' said he, 
when she entered the hall. 

' Oh, then we must get him another,' answered the 
Sultana ; ' I have a girl that will suit him exactly,' and 
clapped her hands loudly. At this signal a maiden 
appeared and stood before her. 

' I have got a husband for you,' said the Sultana. 

' Who is he ? ' asked the girl. 

' Abu Nowas, the jester,' replied the Sultana. 

1 1 will take him,' answered the maiden ; and as 
Abu Nowas made no objection, it was all arranged. The 
Sultana had the most beautiful clothes made for the 
bride, and the Sultan gave the bridegroom his wedding 
suit, and a thousand gold pieces into the bargain, and 
soft carpets for the house. 

So Abu Nowas took his wife home, and for some 
time they were very happy, and spent the money freely 


which the Sultan had given them, never thinking what 
they should do for more when that was gone. But come 
to an end it did, and they had to sell their fine things one 
by one, till at length nothing was left but a cloak apiece, 
and one blanket to cover them. ' We have run through 
our fortune,' said Abu Nowas, ' what are we to do now ? 
I am afraid to go back to the Sultan, for he will command 
his servants to turn me from the door. But you shall 
return to your mistress, and throw yourself at her feet 
and weep, and perhaps she will help us.' 

' Oh, you had much better go,' said the wife. * I shall 
not know what to say.' 

1 Well, then, stay at home, if you like,' answered Abu 
Nowas, 'and I will ask to be admitted to the Sultan's 
presence, and will tell him, with sobs, that my wife is 
dead, and that I have no money for her burial. When he 
hears that perhaps he will give us something.' 

1 Yes, that is a good plan,' said the wife ; and Abu 
Nowas set out. 

The Sultan was sitting in the hall of justice when 
Abu Nowas entered, his eyes streaming with tears, for 
he had rubbed some pepper into them. They smarted 
dreadfully, and he could hardly see to walk straight, and 
everyone wondered what was the matter with him. 

1 Abu Nowas ! What has happened ? ' cried the 

' Oh, noble Sultan, my wife is dead,' wept he. 

' We must all die,' answered the Sultan ; but this was 
not the reply for which Abu Nowas had hoped. 

' True, O Sultan, but I have neither shroud to wrap 
her in, nor money to bury her with,' went on Abu Nowas, 
in no wise abashed by the way the Sultan had received 
his news. 

1 Well, give him a hundred pieces of gold,' said the 
Sultan, turning to the Grand Vizir. And when the money 
was counted out Abu Nowas bowed low, and left the 
hall, his tears still flowing, but with joy in his heart. 


1 Have you got anything ? ' cried his wife, who was 
waiting for him anxiously. 

* Yes, a hundred gold pieces,' said he, throwing down 
the bag, * but that will not last us any time. Now you 
must go to the Sultana, clothed in sackcloth and robes of 
mourning, and tell her that your husband, Abu Nowas, 
is dead, and you have no money for his burial. When 
she hears that, she will be sure to ask you what has 
become of the money and the fine clothes she gave us 
on our marriage, and you will answer, " before he died he 
sold everything." ' 

The wife did as she was told, and wrapping herself 
in sackcloth went up to the Sultana's own palace, and 
as she was known to have been one of Subida's favourite 
attendants, she was taken without difficulty into the 
private apartments. 

1 What is the matter ? ' inquired the Sultana, at the 
sight of the dismal figure. 

1 My husband lies dead at home, and he has spent 
all our money, and sold everything, and I have nothing 
left to bury him with,' sobbed the wife. 

Then Subida took up a purse containing two hundred 
gold pieces, and said : ' Your husband served us long and 
faithfully. You must see that he has a fine funeral.' 

The wife took the money, and, kissing the feet of the 
Sultana, she joyfully hastened home. They spent some 
happy hours planning how they should spend it, and 
thinking how clever they had been. ' When the Sultan 
goes this evening to Subida's palace,' said Abu Nowas, 
1 she will be sure to tell him that Abu Nowas is dead. 
" Not Abu Nowas, it is his wife," he will reply, and they 
will quarrel over it, and all the time we shall be sitting 
here enjoying ourselves. Oh, if they only knew, how 
angry they would be ! ' 

As Abu Nowas had foreseen, the Sultan went, in the 
evening after his business was over, to pay his usual visit 
to the Sultana. 



1 Poor Abu Nowas is dead ! ' said Subida when he 
entered the room. 

' It is not Abu Nowas, but his wife who is dead,' 
answered the Sultan. 

1 No ; really you are quite wrong. She came to tell 
me herself only a couple of hours ago,' replied Subida, 
' and as he had spent all their money, I gave her some- 
thing to bury him with.' 

' You must be dreaming,' exclaimed the Sultan. ' Soon 
after midday Abu Nowas came into the hall, his eyes 
streaming with tears, and when I asked him the reason 
he answered that his wife was dead, and they had sold 
everything they had, and he had nothing left, not so much 
as would buy her a shroud, far less for her burial.' 

For a long time they talked, and neither would listen 
to the other, till the Sultan sent for the door-keeper and 
bade him go instantly to the house of Abu Nowas and 
see if it was the man or his wife who was dead. But 
Abu Nowas happened to be sitting with his wife behind 
the latticed window, which looked on the street, and he 
saw the man coming, and sprang up at once. ' There 
is the Sultan's door-keeper ! They have sent him here to 
find out the truth. Quick ! throw yourself on the bed 
and pretend that you are dead.' And in a moment the 
wife was stretched out stiffly, with a linen sheet spread 
across her, like a corpse. 

She was only just in time, for the sheet was hardly 
drawn across her when the door opened and the porter 
came in. ' Has anything happened? ' asked he, 

•' My poor wife is dead,' replied Abu Nowas. ' Look ! 
she is laid out here.' And the porter approached the bed, 
which was in a corner of the room, and saw the stiff form 
lying underneath. 

' We must all die,' said he, and went back to the 

' Well, have you found out which of them is dead ? ' 
asked the Sultan, 


' Yes, noble Sultan ; it is the wife,' replied the porter. 

' He only says that to please you/ cried Subida in a 
rage ; and calling to her chamberlain, she ordered him to 
go at once to the dwelling of Abu Nowas and see which 
of the two was dead. ' And be sure you tell the truth 
about it/ added she, ' or it will be the worse for you/ 

As her chamberlain drew near the house, Abu Nowas 
caught sight of him. ' There is the Sultana's chamber- 
lain/ he exclaimed in a fright. ' Now it is my turn to 
die. Be quick and spread the sheet over me/ And he 
laid himself on the bed, and held his breath when the 
chamberlain came in. ' What are you weeping for ? ' 
asked the man, finding the wife in tears. 

1 My husband is dead,' answered she, pointing to the 
bed ; and the chamberlain drew back the sheet and beheld 
Abu Nowas lying stiff and motionless. Then he gently 
replaced the sheet and returned to the palace. 

' Well, have you found out this time ? ' asked the 

1 My lord, it is the husband who is dead.' 

' But I tell you he was with me only a few hours 
ago/ cried the Sultan angrily. ' I must get to the bottom 
of this before I sleep ! Let my golden coach be brought 
round at once.' 

The coach was before the door in another five minutes, 
and the Sultan and Sultana both got in. Abu Nowas 
had ceased being a dead man, and was looking into the 
street when he saw the coach coming. ' Quick ! quick ! v 
he called to his wife. ' The Sultan will be here directly, 
and we must both be dead to receive him/ So they laid 
themselves down, and spread the sheet over them, and 
held their breath. At that instant the Sultan entered, 
followed by the Sultana and the chamberlain, and he 
went up to the bed and found the corpses stiff and 
motionless. ' I would give a thousand gold pieces to 
anyone who would tell me the truth about this,' cried he, 
and at the words Abu Nowas sat up. ' Give them to me, 


then/ said he, holding out his hand. ' You cannot give 
them to anyone who needs them more.' 

1 Oh, Abu Nowas, you impudent dog ! ' exclaimed the 
Sultan, bursting into a laugh, in which the Sultana 
joined. ' I might have known it was one of your tricks ! ' 
But he sent Abu Nowas the gold he had promised, and 
let us hope that it did not fly so fast as the last had done. 

[From Tiinische Mahrchen.] 



Once upon a time, in a very hot country, a man lived with 
his wife in a little hut, which was surrounded by grass 
and flowers. They were perfectly happy together till, by- 
and-by, the woman fell ill and refused to take any food. 
The husband tried to persuade her to eat all sorts of 
delicious fruits that he had found in the forest, but she 
would have none of them, and grew so thin he feared she 
would die. ' Is there nothing you would like ? ' he said 
at last in despair. 

* Yes, T think I could eat some wild honey,' answered 
she. The husband was overjoyed, for he thought this 
sounded easy enough to get, and he went off at once in 
search of it. 

He came back with a wooden pan quite full, and gave 
it to his wife. ' I can't eat that,' she said, turning away 
in disgust. ' Look ! there are some dead bees in it ! I 
want honey that is quite pure.' And the man threw the 
rejected honey on the grass, and started off to get some 
fresh. When he got back he offered it to his wife, who 
treated it as she had done the first bowlful. ' That 
honey has got ants in it : throw it away,' she said, and 
when he brought her some more, she declared it was full 
of earth. In his fourth journey he managed to find some 
that she would eat, and then she begged him to get her 
some water. This took him some time, but at length he 
came to a lake whose waters were sweetened with sugar. 
He filled a pannikin quite full, and carried it home to his 
wife, who drank it eagerly, and said that she now felt 
quite well. 


When she was up and had dressed herself, her hus- 
band lay down in her place, saying : ' You have given me 
a great deal of trouble, and now it is my turn ! ' 

' What is the matter with you ? ' asked the wife. 

' I am thirsty and want some water,' answered he ; and 
she took a large pot and carried it to the nearest spring, 
which was a good way off. ' Here is the water,' she said 
to her husband, lifting the heavy pot from her head ; but 
he turned away in disgust, 

1 You have drawn it from the pool that is full of frogs 
and willows ; you must get me some more.' So the woman 
set out again and walked still further to another lake. 

' This water tastes of rushes,' he exclaimed, ' go and get 
some fresh.' But when she brought back a third supply 
he declared that it seemed made up of water-lilies, and 
that he must have water that was pure, and not spoilt by 
willows, or frogs, or rushes. So for the fourth time she 
put her jug on her head, and passing all the lakes she 
had hitherto tried, she came to another, where the water 
was golden like honey. She stooped down to drink, when 
a horrible head bobbed up on the surface. 

' How dare you steal my water ? ' cried the head. 

' It is my husband who has sent me,' she replied, 
trembling all over. ' But do not kill me ! You shall have 
my baby, if you will only let me go.' 

' How am I to know which is your baby ? ' asked the 

' Oh, that is easily managed. I will shave both sides 
of his head, and hang some white beads round his neck. 
And when you come to the hut you have only to call 
" Motikatika ! " and he will run to meet you, and you can 
eat him.' 

' Very well,' said the ogre, ' you can go home.' And 
after filling the pot she returned, and told her husband of 
the dreadful danger she had been in. 

Now, though his mother did not know it, the baby was 
a magician, and he had heard all that his mother had 



promised the ogre ; and he laughed to himself as he 
planned how to outwit her. 

The next morning she shaved his head on both sides, 
and hung the white beads round his neck, and said to 
him : 'lam going to the fields to work, but you must 


stay at home. Be sure you do not go outside, or some 
wild beast may eat you.' 
' Very well/ answered he. 

As soon as his mother was out of sight, the baby took 
out some magic bones, and placed them in a row before 


him. ' You are my father/ he told one bone, ' and you 
are my mother. You are the biggest,' he said to the third, 
i so you shall be the ogre who wants to eat me ; and you,' 
to another, ' are very little, therefore you shall be me. 
Now, then, tell me what I am to do.' 

1 Collect all the babies in the village the same size as 
yourself,' answered the bones ; ' shave the sides of their 
heads, and hang white beads round their necks, and tell 
them that when anybody calls " Motikatika," they are to 
answer to it. And be quick for you have no time to lose/ 

Motikatika went out directly, and brought back quite 
a crowd of babies, and shaved their heads and hung 
white beads round their little black necks, and just as he 
had finished, the ground began to shake, and the huge 
ogre came striding along, crying : * Motikatika ! Motika- 
tika ! ' 

1 Here we are ! here we are ! ' answered the babies, all 
running to meet him. 

I It is Motikatika I want,' said the ogre. 

' We are all Motikatika,' they replied. And the ogre 
sat down in bewilderment, for he dared not eat the 
children of people who had done him no wrong, or a 
heavy punishment would befall him. The children waited 
for a little, wondering, and then they went away. 

The ogre remained where he was, till the evening, 
when the woman returned from the fields. 

' I have not seen Motikatika,' said he. 

' But why did you not call him by his name, as I told 
you ? ' she asked. 

I I did, but all the babies in the village seemed to be 
named Motikatika,' answered the ogre ; l you cannot think 
the number who came running to me.' 

The woman did not know what to make of it, so, to 
keep him in a good temper, she entered the hut and 
prepared a bowl of maize, which she brought him. 

' I do not want maize, I want the baby,' grumbled he, 
1 and I will have him.' 


' Have patience,' answered she ; ' I will call him, and 
you can eat him at once.' And she went into the hut and 
cried, ' Motikatika ! ' 

' I am coming, mother,' replied he ; but first he took 
out his bones, and, crouching clown on the ground behind 
the hut, asked them how he should escape the ogre. 

1 Change yourself into a mouse,' said the bones ; and 
so he did, and the ogre grew tired of waiting, and told 
the woman she must invent some other plan. 

' To-morrow I will send him into the field to pick 
some beans for me, and you will find him there, and can 
eat him.' 

1 Very well,' replied the ogre, ' and this time I will 
take care to have him,' and he went back to his lake. 

Next morning Motikatika was sent out with a basket, 
and told to pick some beans for dinner. On the way to 
the field he took out his bones and asked them what he 
was to do to escape from the ogre. ' Change yourself 
into a bird and snap off the beans,' said the bones. And 
the ogre chased away the bird, not knowing that it was 

The ogre went back to the hut and told the woman 
that she had deceived him again, and that he would not 
be put off any longer. 

' Eeturn here this evening,' answered she, ' and you 
will find him in bed under this white coverlet. Then 
you can carry him away, and eat him at once.' 

But the boy heard, and consulted his bones, which 
said : ' Take the red coverlet from your father's bed, and 
put yours on his,' and so he did. And when the ogre 
came, he seized Motikatika's father and carried him out- 
side the hut and ate him. When his wife found out the 
mistake, she cried bitterly ; but Motikatika said : ' It is 
only just that he should be eaten, and not I ; for it was he, 
and not I, who sent you to fetch the water.' 

[Adapted from the Ba-Ronga (H. Junod).] 



On one of the great moors over in Jutland, where trees 
won't grow because the soil is so sandy and the wind so 
strong, there once lived a man and his wife, who had a 
little house and some sheep, and two sons who helped 
them to herd them. The elder of the two was called 
Easmus, and the younger Niels. Easmus was quite con- 
tent to look after sheep, as his father had done before 
him, but Niels had a fancy to be a hunter, and was not 
happy till he got hold of a gun and learned to shoot. It 
was only an old muzzle-loading flint-lock after all, but 
Niels thought it a great prize, and went about shooting at 
everything he could see. So much did he practise that 
in the long run he became a wonderful shot, and was 
heard of even where he had never been seen. Some 
people said there was very little in him beyond this, but 
that was an idea they found reason to change in the 
course of time. 

The parents of Easmus and Niels were good Catholics, 
and when they were getting old the mother took it into 
her head that she would like to go to Eome and see the 
Pope. The others didn't see much use in this, but she had 
her way in the end : they sold all the sheep, shut up the 
house, and set out for Eome on foot. Niels took his gun 
with him. 

'What do you want with that?' said Easmus; '.we 
have plenty to carry without it.' But Niels could not be 
happy without his gun, and took it all the same. 


It was in the hottest part of summer that they began 
their journey, so hot that they could not travel at all in 
the middle of the day, and they were afraid to do it by 
night lest they might lose their way or fall into the hands 
of robbers. One day, a little before sunset, they came to 
an inn which lay at the edge of a forest. 

' We had better stay here for the night,' said Easmus. 

' What an idea ! ' said Niels, who was growing im- 
patient at the slow progress they were making. ' We 
can't travel by day for the heat, and we remain where we 
are all night. It will be long enough before we get to 
Rome if we go on at this rate.' 

Rasmus was unwilling to go on, but the two old 
people sided with Niels, who said, ' The nights aren't 
dark, and the moon will soon be up. We can ask at the 
inn here, and find out which way we ought to take.' 

So they held on for some time, but at last they came 
to a small opening in the forest, and here they found 
that the road split in two. There was no sign-post to 
direct them, and the people in the inn had not told them 
which of the two roads to take. 

' What's to be done now ? ' said Rasmus. ' I think 
we had better have stayed at the inn.' 

' There's no harm done,' said Niels. ' The night is 
warm, and we can wait here till morning. One of us 
will keep watch till midnight, and then waken the other.' 

Rasmus chose to take the first watch, and the others 
lay down to sleep. It was very quiet in the forest, and 
Rasmus could hear the deer and foxes and other animals 
moving about among the rustling leaves. After the 
moon rose he could see them occasionally, and when a 
big stag came quite close to him he got hold of Niels' 
gun and shot it. 

Niels was wakened by the report. ' What's that ? ' he 

' I've just shot a stag/ said Rasmus, highly pleased 
with himself. 


' That's nothing,' said Niels. ' I've often shot a spar- 
row, which is a much more difficult thing to do.' 

It was now close on midnight, so Niels began his 
watch, and Kasmus went to sleep. It began to get 
colder, and Niels began to walk about a little to keep 
himself warm. He soon found that they were not far 
from the edge of the forest, and when he climbed up one 
of the trees there he could see out over the open country 
beyond. At a little distance he saw a fire, and beside it 
there sat three giants, busy with broth and beef. They 
were so huge that the spoons they used were as large as 
spades, and their forks as big as hay-forks : with these 
they lifted whole bucketfuls of broth and great joints of 
meat out of an enormous pot which was set on the 
ground between them. Niels was startled and rather 
scared at first, but he comforted himself with the thought 
that the giants were a good way off, and that if they came 
nearer he could easily hide among the bushes. After 
watching them for a little, however, he began to get over 
his alarm, and finally slid down the tree again, resolved 
to get his gun and play some tricks with them. 

When he had climbed back to his former position, he 
took good aim, and waited till one of the giants was just 
in the act of putting a large piece of meat into his mouth. 
Bang ! went Niels' gun, and the bullet struck the handle 
of the fork so hard that the point went into the giant's 
chin, instead of his mouth. 

' None of your tricks,' growled the giant to the one 
who sat next him. ' What do you mean by hitting my 
fork like that, and making me prick myself ? ' 

' I never touched your fork,' said the other. * Don't 
try to get up a quarrel with me.' 

' Look at it, then,' said the first. ' Do you suppose I 
stuck it into my own chin for fun ? ' 

The two got so angry over the matter that each offered 
to - fight the other there and then, but the third giant 
acted as peace-maker, and they again fell to their eating. 


While the quarrel was going on, Niels had loaded the 
gun again, and just as the second giant was about -to put 
a nice tit-bit into his mouth, bang ! went the gun again, 
and the fork flew into a dozen pieces. 

This giant was even more furious than the first had 
been, and words were just coming to blows, when the 
third giant again interposed. 

' Don't be fools,' he said to them; 'what's the good 
of beginning to fight among ourselves, when it is so 
necessary for the three of us to work together and get the 
upper hand over the king of this country. It will be a hard 
enough task as it is, but it will be altogether hopeless 
if we don't stick together. Sit down again, and let us 
finish our meal ; I shall sit between you, and then neither 
of you can blame the other.' 

Niels was too far away to hear their talk, but from 
their gestures he could guess what was happening, and 
thought it good fun. 

1 Thrice is lucky,' said he to himself ; ' I'll have 
another shot yet.' 

This time it was the third giant's fork that caught the 
bullet, and snapped in two. 

1 Well,' said he, ' if I were as foolish as you two, I 
would also fly into a rage, but I begin to see what time 
of day it is, and I'm going off this minute to see who 
it is that's playing these tricks with us.' 

So well had the giant made his observations, that 
though Niels climbed down the tree as fast as he could, 
so as to hide among the bushes, he had just got to the 
ground when the enemy was upon him. 

1 Stay where you are,' said the giant, ' or 111 put my 
foot on you, and there won't be much of you left after 

Niels gave in, and the giant carried him back to his 

1 You don't deserve any mercy at our hands,' said his 
captor, ' but as you are such a good shot you may be of 


great use to us, so we shall spare your life, if you will do 
us a service. Not far from here there stands a castle, in 
which the king's daughter lives ; we are at war with 
the king, and want to get the upper hand of him by 
carrying off the princess, but the castle is so well guarded 
that there is no getting into it. By our skill in magic 
we have cast sleep on every living thing in the castle, 
except a little black dog, and, as long as he is awake, 
we are no better off than before ; for, as soon as we begin 
to climb over the wall, the little dog will hear us, and its 
barking will waken all the others again. Having got you, 
we can place you where you will be able to shoot the dog 
before it begins to bark, and then no one can hinder us from 
getting the princess into our hands. If you do that, we 
shall not only let you off, but reward you handsomely.' 

Niels had to consent, and the giants set out for the 
castle at once. It was surrounded by a very high ram- 
part, so high that even the giants could not touch the 
top of it. ' How am I to get over that ? ' said Niels. 

'Quite easily,' said the third giant; ' I'll throw you 
up on it.' 

' No, thanks,' said Niels. ' I might fall down on the 
other side, or break my leg or neck, and then the little 
dog wouldn't get shot after all.' 

' No fear of that/ said the giant ; ' the rampart is 
quite wide on the top, and covered with long grass, so 
that you will come down as softly as though you fell on a 

Niels had to believe him, and allowed the giant to 
throw him up. He came down on his feet quite unhurt, 
but the little black dog heard the dump, and rushed out 
of its kennel at once. It was just opening its mouth to 
bark, when Niels fired, and it fell dead on the spot. 

' Go down on the inside now,' said the giant, ' and 
see if you can open the gate to us.' 

Niels made his way down into the courtyard, but on 
his way to the outer gate he found himself at the entrance 


to the large hall of the castle. The door was open, and 
the hall was brilliantly lighted, though there was no one 
to be seen. Niels went in here and looked round him : 
on the wall there hung a huge sword without a sheath, 
and beneath it was a large drinking-horn, mounted with 
silver. Niels went closer to look at these, and saw that 
the horn had letters engraven on the silver rim : when 
he took it down and turned it round, he found that the 
inscription was : — 

Whoever drinks the wine I hold 

Can wield the sword that hangs above ; 

Then let him use it for the right, 
And win a royal maiden's love. 

Niels took out the silver stopper of the horn, and 
drank some of the wine, but when he tried to take down 
the sword he found himself unable to move it. So he 
hung up the horn again, and went further in to the castle. 
' The giants can wait a little,' he said. 

Before long he came to an apartment in which a 
beautiful princess lay asleep in a bed, and on a table by 
her side there lay a gold-hemmed handkerchief. Niels 
tore this in two, and put one half in his pocket, leaving 
the other half on the table. On the floor he saw a pair 
of gold-embroidered slippers, and one of these he also put 
in his pocket. After that he went back to the hall, and 
took down the horn again. ' Perhaps I have to drink all 
that is in it before I can move the sword,' he thought ; so 
he put it to his lips again and drank till it was quite 
empty. When he had done this, he could wield the 
sword with the greatest of ease, and felt himself strong 
enough to do anything, even to fight the giants he had 
left outside, who were no doubt wondering why he had 
not opened the gate to them before this time. To kill the 
giants, he thought, would be using the sword for the 
right ; but as to winning the love of the princess, that 
was a thing which the son of a poor sheep-farmer need 
not hope for. 

C u 


When Niels came to the gate of the castle, he found 
that there was a large door and a small one, so he opened 
the latter. 

' Can't you open the big door ? ' said the giants ; ' we 
shall hardly be able to get in at this one.' 

' The bars are too heavy for me to draw,' said Niels ; 
1 if you stoop a little you can quite well come in here.' 
The first giant accordingly bent down and entered in a 
stooping posture, but before he had time to straighten his 
back again Niels made a sweep with the sword, and off 
went the giant's head. To push the body aside as it fell 
was quite easy for Niels, so strong had the wine made 
him, and the second giant as he entered met the 
same reception. The third was slower in coming, so 
Niels called out to him: 'Be quick,' he said, 'you are 
surely the oldest of the three, since you are so slow in 
your movements, but I can't wait here long ; I must get 
back to my own people as soon as possible.' So the third 
also came in, and was served in the same way. It appears 
from the story that giants were not given fair play ! 

By this time day was beginning to break, and Niels 
thought that his folks might already be searching for him, 
so, instead of waiting to see what took place at the castle, 
he ran off to the forest as fast as he could, taking the 
sword with him. He found the others still asleep, so he 
woke them up, and they again set out on their journey. 
Of the night's adventures he said not a word, and when 
they asked where he got the sword, he only pointed in 
the direction of the castle, and said, ' Over that way.' 
They thought he had found it, and asked no more 

When Niels left the castle, he shut the door behind 
him, and it closed with such a bang that the porter woke 
up. He could scarcely believe his eyes when he saw the 
three headless giants lying in a heap in the courtyard, 
and could not imagine what had taken place. The whole 
castle was soon aroused, and then everybody wondered 


at the affair : it was soon seen that the bodies were those 
of the king's great enemies, but how they came to be 
there and in that condition was a perfect mystery. Then 
it was noticed that the drinking-horn was empty and the 
sword gone, while the princess reported that half of her 
handkerchief and one of her slippers had been taken away. 
How the giants had been killed seemed a little clearer 
now, but who had done it was as great a puzzle as before. 
The old knight who had charge of the castle said that in 
his opinion it must have been some young knight, who 
had immediately set off to the king to claim the hand of 
the princess. This sounded likely, but the messenger 
who was sent to the Court returned with the news that 
no one there knew anything about the matter. 

' We must find him, however,' said the princess ; ' for 
if he is willing to marry me I cannot in honour refuse 
him, after what my father put on the horn.' She took 
council with her father's wisest men as to what ought to 
be done, and among other things they advised her to 
build a house beside the highway, and put over the door 
this inscription : — ' Whoever will tell the story of his 
life, may stay here three nights for nothing.' This was 
done, and many strange tales were told to the princess, 
but none of the travellers said a word about the three 

In the meantime Niels and the others tramped on 
towards Borne. Autumn passed, and winter was just 
beginning when they came to the foot of a great range of 
mountains, towering up to the sky. ' Must we go over 
these ? ' said they. ' We shall be frozen to death or buried 
in the snow.' 

' Here comes a man,' said Niels ; ' let us ask him the 
way to Eome.' They did so, and were told that there 
was no other way. 

' And is it far yet ? ' said the old people, who were 
beginning to be worn out by the long journey. The man 
held up his foot so that they could see the sole of his 



shoe ; it was worn as thin as paper, and there was a hole 
in the middle of it. 

' These shoes were quite new when I left Eome,' he 
said, ' and look at them now ; that will tell you whether 
you are far from it or not/ 

This discouraged the old people so much that they 
gave up all thought of finishing the journey, and only 
wished to get back to Denmark as quickly as they could. 
What with the winter and bad roads they took longer to 
return than they had taken to go, but in the end they 
found themselves in sight of the forest where they had 
slept before. 

'What's this?' said Easmus. 'Here's a big house 
built since we passed this way before.' 

1 So it is,' said Peter ; ' let's stay all night in it.' 

1 No, we can't afford that,' said the old people ; ' it 
will be too dear for the like of us.' 

However, when they saw what was written above the 
door, they were all well pleased to get a night's lodging 
for nothing. They were well received, and had so much 
attention given to them, that the old people were quite 
put out by it. After they had got time to rest them- 
selves, the princess's steward came to hear their story. 

1 You saw what was written above the door,' he said 
to the father. ' Tell me who you are and what your 
history has been.' 

1 Dear me, I have nothing of any importance to tell 
you,' said the old man, ' and I am sure we should never 
have made so bold as to trouble you at all if it hadn't 
been for the youngest of our two sons here.' 

' Never mind that,' said the steward ; ' you are very 
welcome if you will only tell me the story of your 

' Well, well, I will,' said he, ' but there is nothing to 
tell about it. I and my wife have lived all our days on a 
moor in North Jutland, until this last year, when she took 
a fancy to go to Rome. We set out with our two sons, 


but turned, back long before we got there, and are now 
on our way home again. That's all my own story, and 
our two sons have lived with us all their days, so there 
is nothing more to be told about them either.' 

1 Yes there is,' said Easmus ; ' when we were on our 
way south, we slept in the wood near here one night, and 
I shot a stag.' 

The steward was so much accustomed to hearing 
stories of no importance that he thought there was no 
use going further with this, but reported to the princess 
that the newcomers had nothing to tell. 

' Did you question them all? ' she said. 

' Well, no ; not directly,' said he ; ' but the father 
said that none of them could tell me any more than he 
had done.' 

I You are getting careless,' said the princess ; ' I shall 
go and talk to them myself.' 

Niels knew the princess again as soon as she entered 
the room, and was greatly alarmed, for he immediately 
supposed that all this was a device to discover the person 
who had run away with the sword, the slipper and the 
half of the handkerchief, and that it would fare badly with 
him if he were discovered. So he told his story much 
the same as the others did (Niels was not very particular), 
and thought he had escaped all further trouble, when 
Easmus put in his word. ' You've forgotten something, 
Niels,' he said; ' you remember you found a sword near 
here that night I shot the stag.' 

'Where is the sword?' said the princess. 

I I know,' said the steward, ' I saw where he laid it 
down when they came in ; ' and off he went to fetch it, 
while Niels wondered whether he could make his escape 
in the meantime. Before he had made up his mind, 
however, the steward was back with the sword, which 
the princess recognised at once. 

1 Where did you get this ? ' she said to Niels. 

Niels was silent, and wondered what the usual penalty 


was for a poor sheep-farmer's son who was so unfortunate 
as to deliver a princess and carry off things from her bed- 

' See what else he has about him,' said the princess to 
the steward, and Niels had to submit to be searched : out 
of one pocket came a gold-embroidered slipper, and out 
of another the half of a gold-hemmed handkerchief, 

' That is enough,' said the princess ; ' now we needn't 
ask any more questions. Send for my father the king at 

' Please let me go/ said Niels ; ' I did you as much 
good as harm, at any rate.' 

' Why, who said anything about doing harm ? ' said the 
princess. ' You must stay here till my father comes.' 

The way in which the princess smiled when she said 
this gave Niels some hope that things might not be bad 
for him after all, and he was yet more encouraged when 
he thought of the words engraven on the horn, though 
the last line still seemed too good to be true. However, 
the arrival of the king soon settled the matter : the 
princess was willing and so was Niels, and in a few days 
the wedding bells were ringing. Niels was made an earl 
by that time, and looked as handsome as any of them 
when dressed in all his robes. Before long the old king 
died, and Niels reigned after him ; but whether his 
father and mother stayed with him, or went back to the 
moor in Jutland, or were sent to Eome in a carriage and 
four, is something that all the historians of his reign have 
forgotten to mention. 



Once upon a time a shepherd was taking his flock out to 
pasture, when he found a little baby lying in a meadow, 
left there by some wicked person, who thought it was too 
much trouble to look after it. The shepherd was fond of 
children, so he took the baby home with him and gave, it 
plenty of milk, and by the time the boy was fourteen he 
could tear up oaks as if they were weeds. Then Paul, as 
the shepherd had called him, grew tired of living at home, 
and went out into the world to try his luck. 

He walked on for many miles, seeing nothing that 
surprised him, but in an open space of the wood he was 
astonished at finding a man combing trees as another 
man would comb flax. 

' Good morning, friend,' said Paul ; ' upon my word, 
you must be a strong man ! ' 

The man stopped his work and laughed. ' I am Tree 
Comber,' he answered proudly ; ' and the greatest wish of 
my life is to wrestle with Shepherd Paul/ 

1 May all your wishes be fulfilled as easily, for I am 
Shepherd Paul, and can wrestle with you at once/ replied 
the lad ; and he seized Tree Comber and flung him with 
such force to the ground that he sank up to his knees in 
the earth. However, in a moment he was up again, and 
catching hold of Paul, threw him so that he sank up to 
his waist ; but then it was Paul's turn again, and this time 
the man was buried up to his neck. ' That is enough,' 
cried he ; 'I see you are a smart fellow, let us become 


1 Very good,' answered Paul, and they continued their 
journey together. 

By-and-by they reached a man who was grinding 
stones to powder in his hands, as if they had been nuts. 

I Good morning/ said Paul politely ; ' upon my word, 
you must be a strong fellow ! ' 

I I am Stone Crusher,' answered the man, and the 
greatest wish of my life is to wrestle with Shepherd Paul.' 

' May all your wishes be as easily fulfilled, for I am 
Shepherd Paul, and will wrestle with you at once,' and 
the sport began. After a short time the man declared 
himself beaten, and begged leave to go with them ; so 
they all three travelled together. 

A little further on they came upon a man who was 
kneading iron as if it had been dough. ' Good morning,' 
said Paul, ' you must be a strong fellow.' 

' I am Iron Kneader, and should like to fight Shepherd 
Paul,' answered he. 

* Let us begin at once then,' replied Paul ; and on this 
occasion also, Paul got the better of his foe, and they all 
four continued their journey. 

At midday they entered a forest, and Paul stopped 
suddenly. ' We three will go and look for game,' he said, 
' and you, Tree Comber, will stay behind and prepare a 
good supper for us.' So Tree Comber set to work to boil 
and roast, and when dinner was nearly ready, a little 
dwarf with a pointed beard strolled up to the place. 
' What are you cooking ? ' asked he, ' give me some of it.' 

' I'll give you some on your back, if you like,' answered 
Tree Comber rudely. The dwarf took no notice, but 
waited patiently till the dinner was cooked, then suddenly 
throwing Tree Comber on the ground, he ate up the 
contents of the saucepan and vanished. Tree Comber 
felt rather ashamed of himself, and set about boiling 
some more vegetables, but they were still very hard when 
the hunters returned, and though they complained of his 
bad cooking, he did not tell them about the dwarf. 


Next day Stone Crusher was left behind, and after 
him Iron Kneader, and each time the dwarf appeared, 
and they fared no better than Tree Comber had done. 
The fourth day Paul said to them : c My friends, there 
must be some reason why your cooking has always been 
so bad, now you shall go and hunt and I will stay behind/ 
So they went off, amusing themselves by thinking what 
was in store for Paul. 

He set to work at once, and had just got all his 
vegetables simmering in the pot when the dwarf appeared 
as before, and asked to have some of the stew. ' Be off,' 
cried Paul, snatching up the saucepan as he spoke. The 
dwarf tried to get hold of his collar, but Paul seized him 
by the beard, and tied him to a big tree so that he could 
not stir, and went on quietly with his cooking. The 
hunters came back early, longing to see how Paul had 
got on, and, to their surprise, dinner was quite ready for 

1 You are great useless creatures,' said he, ' who couldn't 
even outwit that little dwarf. When we have finished 
supper I will show you what I have done with him 1 ' 
But when they reached the place where Paul had left the 
dwarf, neither he nor the tree was to be seen, for the 
little fellow had pulled it up by the roots and run away, 
dragging it after him. The four friends followed the 
track of the tree and found that it ended in a deep hole. 
1 He must have gone down here,' said Paul, ' and I will 
go after him. See ! there is a basket that will do for 
me to sit in, and a cord to lower me with. But when 
I pull the cord again, lose no time in drawing the 
basket up.' 

And he stepped into the basket, which was lowered by 
his friends. 

At last it touched the ground and he jumped out and 
looked about him. He was in a beautiful valley, full of 
meadows and streams, with a splendid castle standing by. 
As the door was open he walked in, but a lovely maiden 


met him and implored him to go back, for the owner of 
the castle was a dragon with six heads, who had stolen 
her from her home and brought her down to this under- 
ground spot. But Paul refused to listen to all her 
entreaties, and 'declared that he was not afraid of the 
dragon, and did not care how many heads he had ; and 
he sat down calmly to wait for him. 

In a little while the dragon came in, and all the long 
teeth in his six heads chattered with anger at the sight 
of the stranger. 

' I am Shepherd Paul,' said the young man, ' and I 
have come to fight you, and as I am in a hurry we had 
better begin at once.' 

' Very good,' answered the dragon. ' I am sure of my 
supper, but let us have a mouthful of something first, just 
to give us an appetite.' 

Whereupon he began to eat some huge boulders as if 
they had been cakes, and when he had quite finished, he 
offered Paul one. Paul was not fond of boulders, but he 
took a wooden knife and cut one in two, then he snatched 
up both halves in his hands and threw them with all his 
strength at the dragon, so that two out of the six heads 
were smashed in. At this the dragon, with a mighty 
roar, rushed upon Paul, but he sprang on one side, and 
with a swinging blow cut off two of the other heads. 
Then, seizing the monster by the neck, he dashed the 
remaining heads against the rock. 

When the maiden heard that the dragon was dead, 
she thanked her deliverer with tears in her eyes, but told 
him that her two younger sisters were in the power of 
dragons still fiercer and more horrible than this one. He 
vowed that his sword should never rest in its sheath till 
they were set free, and bade the girl come with him, and 
show him the way. 

The maiden gladly consented to go with him, but first 
she gave him a golden rod, and bade him strike the castle 
with it. He did so, and it instantly changed into a golden 



apple, which he put in his pocket. After that, they started 
on their search. 

They had not gone far before they reached the castle 
where the second girl was confined by the power of 
the dragon with twelve heads, who had stolen her from 
her home. She was overjoyed at the sight of her sister 
and of Paul, and brought him a shirt belonging to the 
dragon, which made every one who wore it twice as strong 
as they were before. Scarcely had he put it on when the 
dragon came back, and the fight began. Long and hard 
was the struggle, but Paul's sword and his shirt helped 
him, and the twelve heads lay dead upon the ground. 

Then Paul changed the castle into an apple, which 
he put into his pocket, and set out with the two girls in 
search of the third castle. 

It was not long before they found it, and within the 
walls was the third sister, who was younger and prettier 
than either of the other two. Her husband had eighteen 
heads, but when he quitted the lower regions for the sur- 
face of the earth, he left them all at home except one, 
which he changed for the head of a little dwarf, with a 
pointed beard. 

The moment that Paul knew that this terrible dragon 
was no other than the dwarf whom he had tied to the 
tree, he longed more than ever to fly at his throat. But 
the thought of the eighteen heads warned him to be care- 
ful, and the third sister brought him a silk shirt which 
would make him ten times stronger than he was before. 

He had scarcely put it on, when the whole castle 
began to shake violently, and the dragon flew up the steps 
into the hall. 

1 Well, my friend, so we meet once more ! Have you 
forgotten me ? I am Shepherd Paul, and I have come 
to wrestle with you, and to free your wife from your 

* Ah, I am glad to see you again,' said the dragon. 
1 Those were my two brothers whom you killed, and now 


your blood shall pay for them.' And he went into his 
room to look for his shirt and to drink some magic wine, 
but the shirt was on Paul's back, and as for the wine, the 
girl had given a cupful to Paul and then had allowed the 
rest to run out of the cask. 

At this the dragon grew rather frightened, but in a 
moment had recollected his eighteen heads, and was bold 

' Come on,' he* cried, rearing himself up and preparing 
to dart all his heads at once at Paul. But Paul jumped 
underneath, and gave an upward cut so that six of the 
heads went rolling down. They were the best heads too, 
and very soon the other twelve lay beside them. Then 
Paul changed the castle into an apple, and put it in his 
pocket. Afterwards he and the three girls set off for the 
opening which led upwards to the earth. 

The basket was still there, dangling from the rope, 
but it was only big enough to hold the three girls, so Paul 
sent them up, and told them to be sure and let down the 
basket for him. Unluckily, at the sight of the maidens' 
beauty, so far beyond anything they had ever seen, 
the friends forgot all about Paul, and carried the girls 
straight away into a far country, so that they were not 
much better off than before. Meanwhile Paul, mad with 
rage at the ingratitude of the three sisters, vowed he 
would be revenged upon them, and set about finding some 
way of getting back to earth. But it was not very easy, 
and for months, and months, and months, he wandered 
about underground, and, at the end, seemed no nearer to 
fulfilling his purpose than he was at the beginning. 

At length, one day, he happened to pass the nest of a 
huge griffin, who had left her young ones all alone. Just 
as Paul came along a cloud containing fire instead of 
rain burst overhead, and all the little griffins would 
certainly have been killed had not Paul spread his cloak 
over the nest and saved them. When their father 
returned the young ones told him what Paul had done, 




and he lost no time in flying after Paul, and asking how 
he could reward him for his goodness. 

' By carrying me up to the earth,' answered Paul ; and 
the griffin agreed, but first went to get some food to eat 
on the way, as it was a long journey. 

1 Now get on my back,' he said to Paul, ' and when I 
turn my head to the right, cut a slice off the bullock that 
hangs on that side, and put it in my mouth, and when 
I turn my head to the left, draw a cupful of wine from 
the cask that hangs on that side, and pour it down my 

For three days and three nights Paul and the griffin 
flew upwards, and on the fourth morning it touched 
the ground just outside the city where Paul's friends had 
gone to live. Then Paul thanked him and bade him fare- 
well, and he returned home again. 

At first Paul was too tired to do anything but sleep, 
but as soon as he was rested he started off in search of 
the three faithless ones, who almost died from fright at the 
sight of him, for they had thought he would never come 
back to reproach them for their wickedness. 

' You know what to expect,' Paul said to them quietly. 
' You shall never see me again. Off with you ! ' He next 
took the three apples out of his pocket and placed them 
all in the prettiest places he could find ; after which he 
tapped them with his golden rod, and they became castles 
again. He gave two of the castles to the eldest sisters, 
and kept the other for himself and the youngest, whom 
he married, and there they are living still. 

[From Ungarische Alcihrchen.'] 



The hunters had hunted the wood for so many years 
that no wild animal was any more to be found in it. 
You might walk from one end to the other without ever 
seeing a hare, or a deer, or a boar, or hearing the cooing 
of the doves in their nest. If they were not dead, they 
had flown elsewhere. Only three creatures remained alive, 
and they had hidden themselves in the thickest part of 
the forest, high up the mountain. These were a grey- 
furred, long-tailed tanuki, his wife the fox, who was one 
of his own family, and their little son. 

The fox and the tanuki were very clever, prudent 
beasts, and they also were skilled in magic, and by this 
means had escaped the fate of their unfortunate friends. 
If they heard the twang of an arrow or saw the glitter of 
a spear, ever so far off, they lay very still, and were not 
to be tempted from their hiding-place, if their hunger was 
ever so great, or the game ever so delicious. ' We are not 
so foolish as to risk our lives,' they said to each other 
proudly. But at length there came a day when, in spite of 
their prudence, they seemed likely to die of starvation, for 
no more food was to be had. Something had to be done, 
but they did not know what. 

Suddenly a bright thought struck the tanuki. ' I 
have got a plan/ he cried joyfully to his wife. ' I will 
pretend to be dead, and you must change yourself into a 
man, and take me to the village for sale. It will be easy 
to find a buyer, tanukis' skins are always wanted ; then 


buy some food with the money and come home again. I 
will manage to escape somehow, so do not worry about 

The fox laughed with delight, and rubbed her paws 
together with satisfaction. ' Well, next time I will go,' 
she said, ' and you can sell me.' And then she changed 
herself into a man, and picking up the stiff body of the 
tanuki, set off towards the village. She found him rather 
heavy, but it would never have done to let him walk 
through the wood and risk his being seen by somebody. 

As the tanuki had foretold, buyers were many, and 
the fox handed him over to the person who offered the 
largest price, and hurried to get some food with the 
money. The buyer took the tanuki back to his house, 
and throwing him into a corner went out. Directly the 
tanuki found he was alone, he crept cautiously through 
a chink of the window, thinking, as he did so, how lucky 
it was that he was not a fox, and was able to climb. 
Once outside, he hid himself in a ditch till it grew dusk, 
and then galloped away into the forest. 

While the food lasted they were all three as happy as 
kings ; but there soon arrived a day when the larder was 
as empty as ever. ' It is my tarn now to pretend to be 
dead,' cried the fox. So the tanuki changed himself into a 
peasant, and started for the village, with his wife's body 
hanging over his shoulder. A buyer was not long in 
coming forward, and while they were making the bargain 
a wicked thought darted into the tanuki's head, that if 
he got rid of the fox there would be more food * for him 
and his son. So as he put the money in his pocket he 
whispered softly to the buyer that the fox was not really 
dead, and that if he did not take care she might run 
away from him. The man did not need twice telling. 
He gave the poor fox a blow on the head, which put an 
end to her, and the wicked tanuki went smiling to the 
nearest shop. 

In former times he had been very fond of his little 



son ; but since he had betrayed his wife he seemed to 
have changed all in a moment, for he would not give him 
as much as a bite, and the poor little fellow would have 
starved had he not found some nuts and berries to eat, 
and he waited on, always hoping that his mother would 
come back. 

At length some notion of the truth began to dawn on 
him ; but he was careful to let the old tanuki see nothing, 
though in his own mind he turned over plans from 
morning till night, wondering how best he might avenge 
his mother. 

One morning, as the little tanuki was sitting with his 
father, he remembered, with a start, that his mother had 
taught him all she knew of magic, and that he could work 
spells as well as his father, or perhaps better. ' I am 
as good a wizard as you,' he said suddenly, and a cold 
chill ran through the tanuki as he heard him, though 
he laughed, and pretended to think it a joke. But the 
little tanuki stuck to his point, and at last the father pro- 
posed they should have a wager. 

' Change yourself into any shape you like,' said he, 
' and I will undertake to know you. I will go and wait 
on the bridge which leads over the river to the village, 
and you shall transform yourself into anything you please, 
but I will know you through any disguise.' The little 
tanuki agreed, and went down the road which his father 
had pointed out. But instead of transforming himself into 
a different shape, he just hid himself in a corner of the 
bridge, where he could see without being seen. 

He had not been there long when his father arrived 
and took up his place near the middle of the bridge, and 
soon after the king came by, followed by a troop of 
guards and all his court. 

' Ah ! he thinks that now he has changed himself into 
a king I shall not know him,' thought the old tanuki, and 
as the king passed in his splendid carriage, borne by his 
servants, he jumped upon it crying : ' I have won my 


wager ; you cannot deceive me.' But in reality it was he 
who had deceived himself. The soldiers, conceiving that 
their king was being attacked, seized the tanuki by the 
legs and flung him over into the river, and the water 
closed over him. 

And the little tanuki saw it all, and rejoiced that his 
mother's death had been avenged. Then he went back 
to the forest, and if he has not found it too lonely, he is 
probably living there still. 

[From Japanische Miihrchen.] 



There was once a crab who lived in a hole on the shady 
side of a mountain. She was a very good housewife, and 
so careful and industrious that there was no creature in 
the whole country whose hole was so neat and clean as 
' hers, and she took great pride in it. 

One day she saw lying near the mouth of her hole 
a handful of cooked rice which some pilgrim must have 
let fall when he was stopping to eat his dinner. Delighted 
at this discovery, she hastened to the spot, and was 
carrying the rice back to her hole when a monkey, who 
lived in some trees near by, came down to see what the 
crab was doing. His eyes shone at the sight of the rice, 
for it was his favourite food, and like the sly fellow he 
was, he proposed a bargain to the crab. She was to give 
him half the rice in exchange for the kernel of a sweet 
red kaki fruit which he had just eaten. He half expected 
that the crab would laugh in his face at this impudent 
proposal, but instead of doing so she only looked at him 
for a moment with her head on one side and then said 
that she would agree to the exchange. So the monkey 
went off with his rice, and the crab returned to her hole 
with the kernel. 

For some time the crab saw no more of the monkey, 
who had gone to pay a visit on the sunny side of the 
mountain ; but one morning he happened to pass by her 
hole, and found her sitting under the shadow of a beauti- 
ful kaki tree. 

1 Good day/ he said politely, ' you have some very fine 


fruit there ! I am very hungry, could you spare me one or 
two ? ' 

1 Oh, certainly,' replied the crab, ' but you must for- 
give me if I cannot get them for you myself. I am no 
tree -climber.' 

' Pray do not apologise/ answered the monkey. ' Now 
that I have your permission I can get them myself quite 
easily.' And the crab consented to let him go up, merely 
saying that he must throw her down half the fruit. 

In another moment he was swinging himself from 
branch to branch, eating all the ripest kakis and filling 
his pockets with the rest, and the poor crab saw to her 
disgust that the few he threw down to her were either not 
ripe at all or else quite rotten. 

' You are a shocking rogue,' she called in a rage ; but 
the monkey took no notice, and went on eating as fast as 
he could. The crab understood that it was no use her 
scolding, so she resolved to try what cunning would do. 

' Sir Monkey,' she said, ' you are certainly a very good 
climber, but now that you have eaten so much, I am 
quite sure you would never be able to turn one of your 
somersaults.' The monkey prided himself on turning 
better somersaults than any of his family, so he instantly 
went head over heels three times on the bough on which 
he was sitting, and all the beautiful kakis that he had in 
his pockets rolled to the ground. Quick as lightning the 
crab picked them up and carried a quantity of them into 
her house, but when she came up for another the monkey 
sprang on her, and treated her so badly that he left her 
for dead. When he had beaten her till his arm ached he 
went his way. 

It was a lucky thing for the poor crab that she 
had some friends to come to her help or she certainly 
would have died then and there. The wasp flew to her, 
and took her back to bed and looked after her, and then 
he consulted with a rice-mortar and an egg which had 
fallen out of a nest near by, and they agreed that when 



the monkey returned, as he was sure to do, to steal the 
rest of the fruit, that they would punish him severely for 
the manner in which he had behaved to the crab. So the 
mortar climbed up to the beam over the front door, and 
the egg lay quite still on the ground, while the wasp set 
down the water-bucket in a corner. Then the crab dug 
itself a deep hole in the ground, so that not even the tip 
of her claws might be seen. 


Soon after everything was ready the monkey jumped 
down from his tree, and creeping to the door began a long 
hypocritical speech, asking pardon for all he had done. 
He waited for an answer of some sort, but none came. 
He listened, but all was still ; then he peeped, and saw 
no one ; then he went in. He peered about for the crab, 


but in vain ; however, his eyes fell on the egg, which he 
snatched up and set on the fire. But in a moment the 
egg had burst into a thousand pieces, and its sharp shell 
struck him in the face and scratched him horribly. 
Smarting with pain he ran to the bucket and stooped 
down to throw some water over his head. As he stretched 
out his hand up started the wasp and stung him on the 
nose. The monkey shrieked and ran to the door, but as 
he passed through down fell the mortar and struck him 
dead. After that the crab lived happily for many years, 
and at length died in peace under her own kaki tree. 

[From Japanische Mahrchen.] 



Many, many years ago there lived a king and queen who 
had one only son, called Sigurd. When the little boy 
was only ten years old the queen, his mother, fell ill and 
died, and the king, who loved her dearly, built a splendid 
monument to his wife's memory, and day after day he sat 
by it and bewailed his sad loss. 

One morning, as he sat by the grave, he noticed a 
richly dressed lady close to him. He asked her name and 
she answered that it was Ingiborg, and seemed surprised 
to see the king there all alone. Then he told her how he 
had lost his queen, and how he came daily to weep at her 
grave. In return, the lady informed him that she had 
lately lost her husband, and suggested that they might 
both find it a comfort if they made friends. 

This pleased the king so much that he invited her to 
his palace, where they saw each other often ; and after a 
time he married her. 

After the wedding was over he soon regained his good 
spirits, and used to ride out hunting as in old days ; 
but Sigurd, who was very fond of his stepmother, always 
stayed at home with her. 

One evening Ingiborg said to Sigurd : ' To-morrow 
your father is going out hunting, and you must go with 
him.' But Sigurd said he would much rather stay at 
home, and the next day when the king rode off Sigurd 
refused to accompany him. The stepmother was very 


angry, but he would not listen, and at last she assured 
him that he would be sorry for his disobedience, and that 
in future he had better do as he was told. 

After the hunting party had started she hid Sigurd 
under her bed, and bade him be sure to lie there till 
she called him. 

Sigurd lay very still for a long while, and was just 
thinking it was no good staying there any more, when he 
felt the floor shake under him as if there were an earth- 
quake, and peeping out he saw a great giantess wading 
along ankle deep through the ground and ploughing it up 
as she walked. 

' Good morning, Sister Ingiborg,' cried she as she 
entered the room, ' is Prince Sigurd at home ? ' 

' No,' said Ingiborg ; ' he rode off to the forest with his 
father this morning.' And she laid the table for her sister 
and set food before her. After they had both done 
eating the giantess said : ' Thank you, sister, for your good 
dinner — the best lamb, the best can of beer and the best 
drink I have ever had ; but — is not Prince Sigurd at 
home ? ' 

Ingiborg again said ' No * ; and the giantess took leave 
of her and went away. When she was quite out of sight 
Ingiborg told Sigurd to come out of his hiding-place. 

The king returned home at night, but his wife told 
him nothing of what had happened, and the next morning 
she again begged the prince to go out hunting with his 
father. Sigurd, however, replied as before, that he would 
much rather stay at home. 

So once more the king rode off alone. This time 
Ingiborg hid Sigurd under the table, and scolded him well 
for not doing as she bade him. For some time he lay 
quite still, and then suddenly the floor began to shake, 
and a giantess came along wading half way to her knees 
through the ground. 

As she entered the house she asked, as the first one 


had done : ' Well, Sister Ingiborg, is Prince Sigurd at 
home ? ' 

' No/ answered Ingiborg, ' he rode off hunting with 
his father this morning ' ; and going to the cupboard she 
laid the table for her sister. When they had finished 
their meal the giantess rose and said : ' Thank you for all 
these nice dishes, and for the best lamb, the best can of 
beer and the nicest drink I have ever had ; but — is Prince 
Sigurd really not at home ? ' 

' No, certainly not ! ' replied Ingiborg ; and with that 
they took leave of each other. 

When she was well out of sight Sigurd crept from 
under the table, and his stepmother declared that it was 
most important that he should not stay at home next 
day ; but he said he did not see what harm could come 
of it, and he did not mean to go out hunting, and the next 
morning, when the king prepared to start, Ingiborg im- 
plored Sigurd to accompany his father. But it w T as all 
no use, he was quite obstinate and would not listen to a 
word she said. ' You will have to hide me again,' said he, 
so no sooner had the king gone than Ingiborg hid Sigurd 
between the wall and the panelling, and by-and-by there 
was heard once more a sound like an earthquake, as a great 
giantess, wading knee deep through the ground, came in at 
the door. 

' Good day, Sister Ingiborg ! ' she cried, in a voice like 
thunder ; ' is Prince Sigurd at home ? ' 

1 Oh, no,' answered Ingiborg, ' he is enjoying himself 
out there in the forest. I expect it will be quite dark before 
he comes back again.' 

' That's a lie ! ' shouted the giantess. And they squab- 
bled about it till they were tired, after which Ingiborg 
laid the table ; and when the giantess had done eating 
she said : ' Well, I must thank you for all these good 
things, and for the best lamb, the best can of beer and 


the best drink I have had for a long time ; but— are you 
quite sure Prince Sigurd is not at home ? ' 

1 Quite,' said Ingiborg. ' I've told you already that 
he rode off with his father this morning to hunt in the 

At this the giantess roared out with a terrible voice : 
' If he is near enough to hear my words, I lay this spell 
on him : Let him be half scorched and half withered ; and 
may he have neither rest nor peace till he finds me.' And 
with these words she stalked off. 

For a moment Ingiborg stood as if turned to stone, 
then she fetched Sigurd from his hiding-place, and, to her 
horror, there he was, half scorched and half withered. 

1 Now you see what has happened through your own 
obstinacy,' said she ; ' but we must lose no time, for your 
father will soon be coming home.' 

Going quickly into the next room she opened a chest 
and took out a ball of string and three gold rings, and 
gave them to Sigurd, saying : ' If you throw this ball on 
the ground it will roll along till it reaches some high 
cliffs. There you will see a giantess looking out over the 
rocks. She will call down to you and say : " Ah, this is 
just what I wanted ! Here is Prince Sigurd. He shall 
go into the pot to-night " ; but don't be frightened by her. 
She will draw you up with a long boat-hook, and you 
must greet her from me, and give her the smallest ring 
as a present. This will please her, and she will ask you 
to wrestle with her. When you are exhausted, she will 
offer you a horn to drink out of, and though she does not 
know it, the wine will make you so strong that you will 
easily be able to conquer her. After that she will let 
you stay there all night. The same thing will happen with 
my two other sisters. But, above all, remember this : 
should my little dog come to you and lay his paws on 
you, with tears running down his face, then hurry home, 
for my life will be in danger. Now, good-bye, and don't 
forget your stepmother.' 


Then Ingiborg dropped the ball on the ground, and 
Sigurd bade her farewell. 

That same evening the ball stopped rolling at the foot 
of some high rocks, and on glancing up, Sigurd saw the 
giantess looking out at the top. 

' Ah, just what I wanted ! ' she cried out when she 
saw him ; ' here is Prince Sigurd. He shall go into the 
pot to-night. Come up, my friend, and wrestle with me/ 

With these words she reached out a long boat hook 
and hauled him up the cliff. At first Sigurd was rather 
frightened, but he remembered what Ingiborg had said, 
and gave the giantess her sister's message and the ring. 

The giantess was delighted, and challenged him to 
wrestle with her. Sigurd was fond of all games, and began 
to wrestle with joy ; but he was no match for the giantess, 
and as she noticed that he was getting faint she gave him 
a horn to drink out of, which was very foolish on her part, 
as it made Sigurd so strong that he soon overthrew her. 

' You may stay here to-night,' said she ; and he was 
glad of the rest. 

Next morning Sigurd threw down the ball again and 
away it rolled for some time, till it stopped at the foot of 
another high rock. Then he looked up and saw another 
giantess, even bigger and uglier than the first one, who 
called out to him : ' Ah, this is just what I wanted ! Here 
is Prince Sigurd. He shall go into the pot to-night. Come 
up quickly and wrestle with me.' And she lost no time in 
hauling him up. 

The prince gave her his stepmother's message and the 
second largest ring. The giantess was greatly pleased 
when she saw the ring, and at once challenged Sigurd to 
wrestle with her. 

They struggled for a long time, till at last Sigurd grew 
faint ; so she handed him a horn to drink from, and when 
he had drunk he became so strong that he threw her down 
with one hand. 


On the third morning Sigurd once more laid down his 
ball, and it rolled far away, till at last it stopped under 
a very high rock indeed, over the top of which the most 
hideous giantess that ever was seen looked down. 

When she saw who was there she cried out : 'Ah, 
this is just what I wanted ! Here comes Prince Sigurd. 
Into the pot he goes this very night. Come up here, my 
friend, and wrestle with me/ And she hauled him up 
just as her sisters had done. 

Sigurd then gave her his stepmother's message and the 
last and largest ring. The sight of the red gold delighted the 
giantess, and she challenged Sigurd to a wrestling match. 
This time the fight was fierce and long, but when at 
length Sigurd's strength was failing the giantess gave 
him something to drink, and after he had drunk it he 
soon brought her to her knees. ' You have beaten me,' 
she gasped, so now, listen to me. ' Not far from here is a 
lake. Go there ; you will find a little girl playing with a 
boat. Try to make friends with her, and give her this 
little gold ring. You are stronger than ever you were, and 
I wish you good luck.' 

With these words they took leave of each other, and 
Sigurd wandered on till he reached the lake, where he 
found the little girl playing with a boat, just as he had been 
told. He went up to her and asked what her name was. 

She was called Helga, she answered, and she lived 
near by. 

-So Sigurd gave her the little gold ring, and proposed that 
they should have a game. The little girl was delighted, for 
she had no brothers or sisters, and they played together 
all the rest of the day. 

When evening came Sigurd asked leave to go home 
with her, but Helga at first forbade him, as no stranger 
had ever managed to enter their house without being 
found out by her father, who was a very fierce giant. 

However, Sigurd persisted, and at length she gave 
way ; but when they came near the door she held her 


glove over him and Sigurd was at once transformed into 
a bundle of wool. Helga tucked the bundle under her 
arm and threw it on the bed in her room. 

Almost at the same moment her father rushed in 
and hunted round in every corner, crying out : ' This 
place smells of men. What's that you threw on the bed, 
Helga ? ' 

' A bundle of wool,' said she. 

' Oh, well, perhaps it was that I smelt/ said the old 
man, and troubled himself no more. 

The following day Helga went out to play and took 
the bundle of wool with her under her arm. When she 
reached the lake she held her glove over it again and 
Sigurd resumed his own shape. 

They played the whole day, and Sigurd taught Helga 
all sorts of games she had never even heard of. As they 
walked home in the evening she said : ' We shall be able 
to play better still to-morrow, for my father will have to 
go to the town, so we can stay at home.' 

When they were near the house Helga again held her 
glove over Sigurd, and once more he was turned into a 
bundle of wool, and she carried him in without his being 

Very early next morning Helga's father went to the 
town, and as soon as he was well out of the way the girl 
held up her glove and Sigurd was himself again. Then 
she took him all over the house to amuse him, and 
opened every room, for her father had given her the 
keys before he left ; but when they came to the last room 
Sigurd noticed one key on the bunch which had not been 
used and asked which room it belonged to.' 

Helga grew red and did not answer. 

' I suppose you don't mind my seeing the room which 
it opens ? ' asked Sigurd, and as he spoke he saw a 
heavy iron door and begged Helga to unlock it for him. 
But she told him she dared not do so, at least if she 


did open the door it must only be a very tiny chink ; and 
Sigurd declared that would do quite well. 

The door was so heavy, that it took Helga some time 
to open it, and Sigurd grew so impatient that he pushed 
it wide open and walked in. There he saw a splendid 
horse, all ready saddled, and just above it hung a richly 
ornamented sword on the handle of which was engraved 
these words : ' He who rides this horse and wears this 
sword will find happiness.' 

At the sight of the horse Sigurd was so filled with 
wonder that he was not able to speak, but at last he gasped 
out : ' Oh, do let me mount him and ride him round the 
house ! Just once ; I promise not to ask any more.' 

* Eide him round the house ! ' cried Helga, growing 
pale at the mere idea. ' Hide Gullfaxi ! Why father 
would never, never forgive me, if I let you do that,' 

' But it can't do him any harm,' argued Sigurd ; l you 
don't know lioio careful I will be. I have ridden all sorts 
of horses at home, and have never fallen off — not once. 
Oh, Helga, do!' 

' Well, perhaps, if you come back directly, replied 
Helga, doubtfully ; ' but you must be very quick, or father 
will find out ! ' 

But, instead of mounting Gullfaxi, as she expected, 
Sigurd stood still. 

' And the sword,' he said, looking fondly up to the 
place where it hung. ' My father is a king, but he has 
not got any sword so beautiful as that. Why, the jewels 
in the scabbard are more splendid than the big ruby in 
his crown ! Has it got a name ? Some swords have, you 

' It is called " Gunnfjoder," the " Battle Plume," ' 
answered Helga, ' and " Gullfaxi " means " Golden Mane." 
I don't suppose, if you are to get on the horse at all, 
it would matter your taking the sword too. And if you 
take the sword you will have to carry the stick and the 
stone and the twig as well.' 

c y 


1 They are easily carried,' said Sigurd, gazing at them 
with scorn ; ' what wretched dried-up things ! Why in 
the world do you keep them ? ' 

' Father says that he would rather lose Gullfaxi than 
lose them/ replied Helga, * for if the man who rides the 
horse is pursued he has only to throw the twig behind 
him and it will turn into a forest, so thick that even a bird 
could hardly fly through. -But if his enemy happens to 
know magic, and can throw down the forest, the man has 
only to strike the stone with the stick, and hailstones as 
large as pigeons' eggs will rain down from the sky and 
will kill every one for twenty miles round.' 

Having said all this she allowed Sigurd to ride ' just 
once ' round the house, taking the sword and other things 
with him. But when he had ridden round, instead of 
dismounting, he suddenly turned the horse's head and 
galloped away. 

Soon after this Helga's father came home and found 
his daughter in tears. He asked what was the matter, 
and when he heard all that had happened, he rushed off 
as fast as he could to pursue Sigurd. 

Now, as Sigurd happened to look behind him he saw 
the giant coming after him with great strides, and in all 
haste he threw the twig behind him. Immediately such a 
thick wood sprang up at once between him and his enemy 
that the giant was obliged to run home for an axe with 
which to cut his way through. 

The next time Sigurd glanced round, the giant was so 
near that he almost touched Gullfaxi's tail. In an agony 
of fear Sigurd turned quickly in his saddle and hit the 
stone with the stick. No sooner had he done this than 
a terrible hailstorm burst behind, and the giant was killed 
on the spot. 

But had Sigurd struck the stone without turning 
round, the hail would have driven right into his face and 
killed him instead. 





After the giant was dead Sigurd rode on towards his 
own home, and on the way he suddenly met his step- 
mother's little dog, running to meet him, with tears pour- 
ing down its face. He galloped on as hard as he could, 
and on arriving found nine men-servants in the act of 
tying Queen Ingiborg to a post in the courtyard of the 
palace, where they intended to burn her. 

Wild with anger Prince Sigurd sprang from his horse 
and, sword in hand, fell on the men and killed them all. 
Then he released his stepmother, and went in with her 
to see his father. 

The king lay in bed sick with sorrow, and neither 
eating nor drinking, for he thought that his son had been 
killed by the queen. He could hardly believe his own 
eyes for joy when he saw the prince, and Sigurd told him 
all his adventures. 

After that Prince Sigurd rode back to fetch Helga, and 
a great feast was made which lasted three days ; and every 
one said no bride was ever seen so beautiful as Helga, and 
they lived happily for many, many years, and everybody 
loved them. 

[From lslandische Mahrchen.~] 



Once upon a time there lived a respectable young tailor 
called Labakan, who worked for a clever master in 
Alexandria. No one could call Labakan either stupid or 
lazy, for he could work extremely well and quickly — when 
he chose ; but there was something not altogether right 
about him. Sometimes he would stitch away as fast as 
if he had a red-hot needle and a burning thread, and at 
other times he would sit lost in thought, and with such a 
queer look about him that his fellow-workmen used to 
say, ' Labakan has got on his aristocratic face to-day.' 

On Fridays he would put on his fine robe which he 
had bought with the money he had managed to save up, 
and go to the mosque. As he came back, after prayers, if 
he met any friend who said ' Good-day,' or ' How are 
you, friend Labakan ? ' he would wave his hand graciously 
or nod in a condescending way ; and if his master happened 
to say to him, as he sometimes did, ' Eeally, Labakan, you 
look like a prince,' he was delighted, and would answer, 
' Have you noticed it too ? ' or ' Well, so I have long 

Things went on like this for some time, and the master 
put up with Labakan 's absurdities because he was, on the 
whole, a good fellow and a clever workman. 

One day, the sultan's brother happened to be passing 
through Alexandria, and wanted to have one of his state 
robes altered, so he sent for the master tailor, who handed 
the robe os T er to Labakan as his best workman. 


In the evening, when every one had left the workshop 
and gone home, a great longing drove Labakan back to 
the place where the royal robe hung. He stood a long 
time gazing at it, admiring the rich material and the 
splendid embroidery in it. At last he could hold out no 
longer. He felt he must try it on, and lo ! and behold, it 
fitted as though it had been made for him. 

' Am not I as good a prince as any other ? ' he asked 
himself, as he proudly paced up and down the room. 
' Has not the master often said that I seemed born to be a 
prince ? ' 

It seemed to him that he must be the son of some un- 
known monarch, and at last he determined to set out 
at once and travel in search of his proper rank. 

He felt as if the splendid robe had been sent him by 
some kind fairy, and he took care not to neglect such a 
precious gift. He collected all his savings, and, concealed 
by the darkness of the night, he passed through the gates 
of Alexandria. 

The new prince excited a good deal of curiosity where- 
ever he went, for his splendid robe and majestic manner 
did not seem quite suitable to a person travelling on foot. 
If anyone asked questions, he only replied with an impor- 
tant air of mystery that he had his own reasons for not 

However, he soon found out that walking made him 
ridiculous, so at last he bought a quiet, steady old horse, 
which he managed to get cheap. 

One day, as he was ambling along upon Murva (that 
was the horse's name), a horseman overtook him and 
asked leave to join him, so that they might both beguile 
the journey with pleasant talk. The newcomer was 
a bright, cheerful, good-looking young man, who soon 
plunged into conversation and asked many questions. 
He told Labakan that his own name was Omar, that he 
was a nephew of Elfi Bey, and was travelling in order to 
carry out a command given him by his uncle on his death- 


bed. Labakan was not quite so open in his confidences, 
but hinted that he too was of noble birth and was travelling 
for pleasure. 

The two young men took a fancy to each other and 
rode on together. On the second day of their journey 
Labakan questioned Omar as to the orders he had to 
carry out, and to his surprise heard this tale. 

Elfi Bey, Pacha of Cairo, had brought up Omar from 
his earliest childhood, and the boy had never known his 
parents. On his deathbed Elfi Bey called Omar to him, 
and then told him that he was not his nephew, but the 
son of a great king, who, having been warned of coming 
dangers by his astrologers, had sent the young prince 
away and made a vow not to see him till his twenty-second 

Elfi Bey did not tell Omar his father's name, but 
expressly desired him to be at a great pillar four days' 
journey east of Alexandria on the fourth day of the 
coming month, on which day he would be twenty- two 
years old. Here he would meet some men, to whom hg 
was to hand a dagger which Elfi Bey gave him, and to 
say : 

1 Here am I for whom you seek.' 

If they answered : ' Praised be the Prophet who has 
preserved you,' he was to follow them, and they would take 
him to his father. 

Labakan was greatly surprised and interested by this 
story, but after hearing it he could not help looking on 
Prince Omar with envious eyes, angry that his friend 
should have the position he himself longed so much for. 
He began to make comparisons between the prince and 
himself, and was obliged to confess that he was a fine- 
looking young man with very good manners and a pleasant 

At the same time, he felt sure that had he been in the 
prince's place any royal father might have baen glad to 
own him. 


These thoughts haunted him all day, and he dreamt 
them all night. He woke very early, and as he saw Omar 
sleeping quietly, with a happy smile on his face, a wish 
arose in his mind to take by force or by cunning the 
things which an unkind fate had denied him. 

The dagger which was to act as a passport was stick- 
ing in Omar's girdle. Labakan drew it gently out, and 
hesitated for a moment whether or not to plunge it into 
the heart of the sleeping prince. However, he shrank 
from the idea of murder, so he contented himself with 
placing the dagger in his own belt, and, saddling Omar's 
swift horse for himself, was many miles away before the 
prince woke up to realise his losses. 

For two days Labakan rode on steadily, fearing lest, 
after all, Omar might reach the meeting place before him. 
At the end of the second day he saw the great pillar at a 
distanca. It stood on a little hill in the middle of a plain, 
and could be seen a very long way off. Labakan's heart 
beat fast at the sight. Though he had had some time 
in which to think over the part he meant to play his 
conscience made him rather uneasy. However, the 
thought that he must certainly have been born to be a 
king supported him, and he bravely rode on. 

The neighbourhood was quite bare and desert, and it 
was a good thing that the new prince had brought food 
for some time with him, as two days were still wanting 
till the appointed time. 

Towards the middle of the next day he saw a long 
procession of horses and camels coming towards him. It 
halted at the bottom of the hill, and some splendid tents 
were pitched. Everything looked like the escort of some 
great man. Labakan made a shrewd guess that all these 
people had come here on his account ; but he checked 
his impatience, knowing that only on the fourth day could 
his wishes be fulfilled. 

The first rays of the rising sun woke the happy tailor. 
As he began to saddle his horse and prepare to ride to 


the pillar, he could not help having some remorseful 
thoughts of the trick he had played and the blighted 
hopes of the real prince. But the die was cast, and his 
vanity whispered that he was as fine looking a young 
man as the proudest king might wish his son to be, and 
that, moreover, what had happened had happened. 

With these thoughts he summoned up all his courage, 
sprang on his horse, and in less than a quarter of an hour 
was at the foot of the hill. Here he dismounted, tied the 
horse to a bush, and, drawing out Prince Omar's dagger, 
climbed up the hill. 

At the foot of the pillar stood six men round a tall 
and stately person. His superb robe of cloth of gold 
was girt round him by a white cashmere shawl, and his 
white, richly jewelled turban showed that he was a man 
of wealth and high rank. 

Labakan went straight up to him, and, bending low, 
handed him the dagger, saying : ' Here am I whom you 

1 Praised be the Prophet who has preserved you ! ' 
replied the old man with tears of joy. ' Embrace me, my 
dear son Omar ! ' 

The proud tailor was deeply moved by these solemn 
words, and with mingled shame and joy sank into the old 
king's arms. 

But his happiness was not long unclouded. As he 
raised his head he saw a horseman who seemed trying 
to urge a tired or unwilling horse across the plain. 

Only too soon Labakan recognised his own old horse, 
Murva, and the real Prince Omar, but having once told a 
lie he made up his mind not to own his deceit. 

At last the horseman reached the foot of the hill. 
Here he flung himself from the saddle and hurried up to 
the pillar. 

' Stop ! ' he cried, ' whoever you may be, and do not 
let a disgraceful impostor take you in. My name is 
Omar, and let no one attempt to rob me of it.' 


This turn of affairs threw the standers-by into great 
surprise. The old king in particular seemed much moved 
as he looked from one face to the other. At last Labakan 
spoke with forced calmness, ' Most gracious lord and 
father, do not let yourself be deceived by this man. As 
far as I know, he is a half-crazy tailor's apprentice from 
Alexandria, called Labakan, who really deserves more 
pity than anger.' 

These words infuriated the prince. Foaming with 
rage, he tried to press towards Labakan, but the attendants 
threw themselves upon him and held him fast, w T hilst the 
king said, ' Truly, my dear son, the poor fellow is quite 
mad. Let him be bound and placed on a dromedary. 
Perhaps we may be able to get some help for him.' 

The prince's first rage was over, and with tears he 
cried to the king, ' My heart tells me that you are my 
father, and in my mother's name I entreat you to hear 

' Oh ! heaven forbid ! ' was the reply. ' He is talking 
nonsense again. How can the poor man have got such 
notions into his head ? ' 

With these words the king took Labakan's arm to 
support him down the hill. They both mounted richly 
caparisoned horses and rode across the plain at the head 
of their followers. 

The unlucky prince was tied hand and foot, and 
fastened on a dromedary, a guard riding on either side 
and keeping a sharp look-out on him. 

The old king was Sached, Sultan of the Wachabites. 
For many years he had had no children, but at length the 
son he had so long wished for was born. But the sooth- 
sayers and magicians whom he consulted as to the child's 
future all said that until he was twenty-two years old he 
stood in danger of being injured by an enemy. So, to 
make all safe, the sultan had confided the prince to his 
trusty friend Elfi Bey, and deprived himself of the happi- 
ness of seeing him for twenty-two years. 


All this the sultan told Labakan, and was much 
pleased by his appearance and dignified manner. 

When they reached their own country they were re- 
ceived with every sign of joy, for the news of the prince's 
safe return had spread like wildfire, and every town and 
village was decorated, whilst the inhabitants thronged to 
greet them with cries of joy and thankfulness. All this 
filled Labakan's proud heart with rapture, whilst the 
unfortunate Omar followed in silent rage and despair. 

At length they arrived in the capital, where the public 
rejoicings were grander and more brilliant than anywhere 
else. The queen awaited them in the great hall of the 
palace, surrounded by her entire court. It was getting 
dark, and hundreds of coloured hanging lamps were lit to 
turn night into day. 

The brightest hung round the throne on which the 
queen sat, and which stood above four steps of pure gold 
inlaid with great amethysts. The four greatest nobles 
in the kingdom held a canopy of crimson silk over the 
queen, and the Sheik of Medina fanned her with a pea- 
cock-feather fan. 

In this state she awaited her husband and her son. 
She, too, had not seen Omar since his birth, but so many 
dreams had shown her what he would look like that she 
felt she would know him among a thousand. 

And now the sound of trumpets and drums and of 
shouts and cheers outside announced the long looked for 
moment. The doors flew open, and between rows of low- 
bending courtiers and servants the king approached the 
throne, leac^ng his pretended son by the hand. 

1 Here,' said he, ' is he for whom you have been long- 
ing so many years.' 

But the queen interrupted him, 'That is not my son ! ' 
she cried. ' That is not the face the Prophet has shown 
me in my dreams ! ' 

Just as the king was about to reason with her, the 
door was thrown violently open, and Prince Omar rushed 


in, followed by his keepers, whom he had managed to get 
away from. He flung himself down before the throne, 
panting out, ' Here will I die ; kill me at once, cruel father, 
for I cannot bear this shame any longer.' 

Everyone pressed round the unhappy man, and the 
guards were about to seize him, when the queen, w T ho at 
first was dumb with surprise, sprang up from her throne. 

'Hold ! ' cried she. ' This and no other is the right 
one ; this is the one whom my eyes have never yet seen, 
but whom my heart recognises.' 

The guards had stepped back, but the king called to 
them in a furious voice to secure the madman. 

'It is I who must judge,' he said in tones ' of 
command ; ' and this matter cannot be decided by 
women's dreams, but by certain unmistakable signs. 
This one ' (pointing to Labakan) ' is my son, for it was he 
who brought me the token from my friend Elfi — the 

' He stole it from me,' shrieked Omar ; ' he betrayed 
my unsuspicious confidence.' 

But the king would not listen to his son's voice, for 
he had always been accustomed to depend on his own 
judgment. He let the unhappy Omar be dragged from 
the hall, whilst he himself retired with Labakan to his 
own rooms, full of anger with the queen his wife, in 
spite of their many years of happy life together. 

The queen, on her side, was plunged in grief, for she 
felt certain that an impostor had won her husband's heart 
and taken the place of her real son. 

When the first shock was over she began to think how 
she could manage to convince the king of his mistake. 
Of course it would be a difficult matter, as the man who 
declared he was Omar had produced the dagger as a 
token, besides talking of all sorts of things which hap- 
pened when he was a child. She called her oldest and 
wisest ladies about her and asked their advice, but 
none of them had any to give. At last one very clever 


old woman said : ' Did not the young man who brought 
the dagger call him whom your majesty believes to be 
your son Labakan, and say he was a crazy tailor? ' 

' Yes,' replied the queen ; ' but what of that ? ' 

1 Might it not be,' said the old lady, 'that the impostor 
has called your real son by his own name? If this 
should be the case, I know of a capital way to find out the 

And she whispered some words to the queen, who 
seemed much pleased, and wenb off at once to see the 

Now the queen was a very wise woman, so she pre- 
tended to think she might have made a mistake, and 
only begged to be allowed to put a test to the two young 
men to prove which was the real prince. 

The king, who was feeling much ashamed of the rage 
he had been in with his dear wife, consented at once, and 
she said : ' No doubt others would make them ride or 
shoot, or something of that sort, but every one learns these 
things. I wish to set them a task which requires sharp 
wits and clever hands, and I want them to try which of 
them can best make a kaftan and pair of trousers.' 

The king laughed. ' No, no, that will never do. Do 
you suppose my son would compete with that crazy 
tailor as to which could make the best clothes ? Oh, dear, 
no, that won't do at all.' 

But the queen claimed his promise, and as he was a 
man of his word the king gave in at last. He went to 
his son and begged that he would humour his mother, 
who had set her heart on his making a kaftan. 

The worthy Labakan laughed to himself. ' If that is 
all she wants,' thought he, ' her majesty will soon be 
pleased to own me.' 

Two rooms were prepared, with pieces of material, 
scissors, needles and threads, and each young man was 
shut up in one of them. 

The king felt rather curious as to what sort of 


garment his son would make, and the queen, too, was 
very anxious as to the result of her experiment. 

On the third day they sent for the two young men 
and their work. Labakan came first and spread out his 
kaftan before the eyes of the astonished king. ' See, 
father,' he said ; ' see, my honoured mother, if this is not 
a masterpiece of work. I'll bet the court tailor himself 
cannot do better." 

The queen smiled and turned to Omar : ' And what 
have you done, my son ? ' 

Impatiently he threw the stuff and scissors down on 
the floor. ' I have been taught how to manage a horse, 
to draw a sword, and to throw a lance some sixty paces, 
but I never learnt to seio, and such a thing would have 
been thought beneath the notice of the pupil of Elfi Bey, 
the ruler of Cairo.' 

' Ah, true son of your father,' cried the queen ; ' if 
only I might embrace you and call you son 1 Forgive 
me, my lord and husband,' she added, turning to the 
king, ' for trying to find out the truth in this way. Do 
you not see yourself now which is the prince and which 
the tailor ? Certainly this kaftan is a very fine one, but 
I should like to know what master taught this young 
man how to make clothes.' 

The king sat deep in thought, looking now at his wife 
and now at Labakan, who was doing his best to hide his 
vexation at his own stupidity. At last the king said : 
1 Even this trial does not satisfy me ; but happily I know 
of a sure way to discover whether or not I have been 

He ordered his swiftest horse to be saddled, mounted, 
and rode off alone into a forest at some little distance. 
Here lived a kindly fairy called Adolzaide, who had often 
helped the kings of his race with her good advice, and to 
her he betook himself. 

In the middle of the forest was a wide open space 
surrounded by great cedar trees, and this was supposed 


to be the fairy's favourite spot. When the king reached 
this place he dismounted, tied his horse to the tree, and 
standing in the middle of the open place said : ' If it is 
true that you have helped my ancestors in their time of 
need, do not despise their descendant, but give me 
counsel, for that of men has failed me.' 

He had hardly finished speaking when one of the 
cedar trees opened, and a veiled figure all dressed in 
white stepped from it. 

' I know your errand, King Sached,' she said; 'it is 
an honest one, and I will give you my help. Take these 
two little boxes and let the two men who claim to be your 
son choose between them. I know that the real prince 
will make no mistake.' 

She then handed him two little boxes made of ivory 
set with gold and pearls. On the lid of each (which the 
king vainly tried to open) was an inscription in diamonds. 
On one stood the words ' Honour and Glory,' and on the 
other ' Wealth and Happiness.' 

' It would be a hard choice,' thought the king as he 
rode home. 

He lost no time in sending for the queen and for all 
his court, and when all were assembled he made a sign, 
and Labakan was led in. With a proud air he walked 
up to the throne, and kneeling down, asked : 

' What does my lord and father command ? ' 

The king replied : ' My son, doubts have been thrown 
on your claim to that name. One of these boxes contains 
the proofs of your birth. Choose for yourself. No doubt 
you will choose right.' 

He then pointed to the ivory boxes, which were placed 
on two little tables near the throne. 

Labakan rose and looked at the boxes. He thought 
for some minutes, and then said : ' My honoured father, 
what can be better than the happiness of being your son, 
and what nobler than the riches of your love. I choose 
the box with the words " Wealth and Happiness." ' 


* We shall see presently if you have chosen the right 
one. For the present take a seat there beside the Pacha 
of Medina,' replied the king. 

Omar was next led in, looking sad and sorrowful. 
He threw himself down before the throne and asked what 
was the king's pleasure. The king pointed out the two 
boxes to him, and he rose and went to the tables. He 
carefully read the two mottoes and said ; ' The last few 
days have shown me how uncertain is happiness and 
how 7 easily riches vanish away. Should I lose a crown 
by it I make my choice of " Honour and Glory." ' 

He laid his hand on the box as he spoke, but the king 
signed to him to wait, and ordered Labakan to come to the 
other table and lay his hand on the box he had chosen. 

Then the king rose from his throne, and in solemn 
silence all present rose too, whilst he said : ' Open the 
boxes, and may Allah show us the truth.' 

The boxes were opened with the greatest ease. In 
the one Omar had chosen lay a little gold crown and 
sceptre on a velvet cushion. In Labakan's box was found 
— a large needle with some thread ! 

The king told the two young men to bring him their 
boxes. They did so. He took the crown in his hand, 
and as he held it, it grew bigger and bigger, till it was as 
large as a real crown. He placed it on the head of his 
son Omar, kissed him on the forehead, and placed him 
on his right hand. Then, turning to Labakan, he said : 
' There is an old proverb, " The cobbler sticks to his last." 
It seems as though you were to stick to your needle. 
You have not deserved any mercy, but I cannot be harsh 
on this day. I give you your life, but I advise you to 
leave this country as fast as you can.' 

Full of shame, the unlucky tailor could not answer. 
He Hung himself down before Omar, and with tears in his 
eyes asked : ' Can you forgive me, prince ? ' 

1 Go in peace,' said Omar as he raised him. 

' Oh, my true son ! ' cried the king as he clasped the 

G K 


prince in his arms, whilst all the pachas and emirs 
shouted, ' Long live Prince Omar ! ' 

In the midst of all the noise and rejoicing Labakan 
slipped off with his little box under his arm. He went to 
the stables, saddled his old horse, Murva, and rode out of 
the gate towards Alexandria. Nothing but the ivory box 
with its diamond motto was left to show him that the 
last few weeks had not been a dream. 

When he reached Alexandria he rode up to his old 
master's door. When he entered the shop, his master came 
forward to ask what was his pleasure, but as soon as he 
saw who it was he called his workmen, and they all fell 
on Labakan with blows and angry words, till at last he 
fell, half fainting, on a heap of old clothes. 

The master then scolded him soundly about the stolen 
robe, but in vain Labakan told him he had come to pay 
for it and offered three times its price. They only fell to 
beating him again, and at last pushed him out of the house 
more dead than alive. 

He could do nothing but remount his horse and ride 
to an inn. Here he found a quiet place in which to rest 
his bruised and battered limbs and to think over his many 
misfortunes. He fell asleep fully determined to give up 
trying to be great, but to lead the life of an honest work- 

Next morning he set to work to fulfil his good resolu- 
tions. He sold his little box to a jeweller for a good 
price, bought a house and opened a workshop. Then he 
hung up a sign with, ' Labakan, Tailor,' over his door, 
and sat down to mend his own torn clothes with the very 
needle which had been in the ivory box. 

After a while he was called away, and when he went 
back to his work he found a wonderful thing had hap- 
pened ! The needle was sewing away all by itself and 
making the neatest little stitches, such as Labakan had 
never been able to make even at his best. 

Certainly even the smallest gift of a kind fairy is of 


great value, and this one had yet another advantage, for 
the thread never came to an end, however much the 
needle sewed. 

Labakan soon got plenty of customers. He used to 
cut out the clothes, make the first stitch with the magic 
needle, and then leave it to do the rest. Before long the 
whole town went to him, for his work was both so good 
and so cheap. The only puzzle was how he could do 
so much, working all alone, and also why he worked with 
closed doors. 

And so the promise on the ivory box of ' Wealth and 
Happiness ' came true for him, and when he heard of all 
the brave doings of Prince Omar, who was the pride and 
darling of his people and the terror of his enemies, the 
ex-prince thought to himself, * After all, I am better off 
as a tailor, for " Honour and Glory " are apt to be very 
dangerous things.' 

z 2 



Long, long ago, as far back as the time when animals spoke, 
there lived a community of cats in a deserted house they 
had taken possession of not far from a large town. They 
had everything they could possibly desire for their comfort, 
they were well fed and well lodged, and if by any chance 
an unlucky mouse was stupid enough to venture in their 
way, they caught it, not to eat it, but for the pure 
pleasure of catching it. The old people of the town 
related how they had heard their parents speak of a time 
when the whole country was so overrun with rats and 
mice that there was not so much as a grain of corn nor 
an ear of maize to be gathered in the fields ; and it might 
be out of gratitude to the cats who had rid the country of 
these plagues that their descendants were allowed to live 
in peace. No one knows where they got the money to 
pay for everything, nor who paid it, for all this happened 
so very long ago. But one thing is certain, they were 
rich enough to keep a servant ; for though they lived very 
happily together, and did not scratch nor fight more than 
human beings would have done, they were nofc clever, 
enough to do the housework themselves, and preferred 
at all events to have some one to cook their meat, which 
they would have scorned to eat raw. Not only were they 
very difficult to please about the housework, but most 
women quickly tired of living alone with only cats for 
companions, consequently they never kept a servant long ; 
and it had become a saying in the town, when anyone 
found herself reduced to her last penny : ' I will go and 


live with the cats,' and so many a poor woman actually 

Now Lizina was not happy at home, for her mother, who 
was a widow, was much fonder of her elder daughter ; so 
that often the younger one fared very badly, and had not 
enough to eat, while the elder could have everything she 
desired, and if Lizina dared to complain she was certain 
to have a good beating. 

At last the day came when she was at the end of her 
courage and patience, and exclaimed to her mother and 
sister : 

' As you hate me so much you will be glad to be rid of 
me, so I am going to live with the cats ! ' 

' Be off with you I ' cried her mother, seizing an old 
broom-handle from behind the door. Poor Lizina did not 
wait to be told twice, but ran off at once and never stopped 
till she reached the door of the cats' house. Their cook 
had left them that very morning, with her face all 
scratched, the result of such a quarrel with the head 
of the house that he had very nearly scratched out her 
eyes. Lizina therefore was warmly welcomed, and she 
set to work at once to prepare the dinner, not without 
many misgivings as to the tastes of the cats, and whether 
she would be able to satisfy them. 

Going to and fro about her work, she found herself 
frequently hindered by a constant succession of cats who 
appeared one after another in the kitchen to inspect the 
new servant ; she had one in front of her feet, another 
perched on the back of her chair while she peeled the 
vegetables, a third sat on the table beside her, and five or 
six others prowled about among the pots and pans on the 
shelves against the wall. The air resounded with their 
purring, which meant that they were pleased with their 
new maid, but Lizina had not yet learned to understand 
their language, and often she did not know what they 
wanted her to do. However, as she was a good, kind- 
hearted giil, she set to work to pick up the little kittens 


which tumbled about on the floor, she patched up quarrels, 
and nursed on her lap a big tabby — the oldest of the com- 
munity — which had a lame paw. All these kindnesses 
could hardly fail to make a favourable impression on the 
cats, and it was even better after a while, when she had 
had time to grow accustomed to their strange ways. 
Never had the house been kept so clean, the meats so 
well served, nor the sick cats so well cared for. After 
a time they had a visit from an old cat, whom they 
called their father, who lived by himself in a barn at 
the top of the hill, and came down from time to time to 
inspect the little colony. He too was much taken with 
Lizina, and inquired, on first seeing her : ' Are you well 
served by this nice, black-eyed little person ? ' and the 
cats answered with one voice : ' Oh, yes, Father Gatto, 
we have never had so good a servant ! ' 

At each of his visits the answer was always the same ; 
but after a time the old cat, who was very observant, 
noticed that the little maid had grown to look sadder and 
sadder. ' What is the matter, my child — has any one 
been unkind to you ? ' he asked one day, when he found 
her crying in her kitchen. She burst into tears and 
answered between her sobs : 'Oh, no ! they are all very 
good to me ; but I long for news from home, and I pine to 
see my mother and my sister.' 

Old Gatto, being a sensible old cat, understood the 
little servant's feelings. ' You shall go home,' he said, 
' and you shall not come back here unless you please. 
But first you must be rewarded for all your kind services 
to my children. Follow me down into the inner cellar, 
where you have never yet been, for I always keep it 
locked and carry the key away with me.' 

Lizina looked round her in astonishment as they went 
down into the great vaulted cellar underneath the kitchen. 
Before her stood the big earthenware water jars, one 
of which contained oil, the other a liquid shining like 
gold. ' In which of these jars shall I dip you ? ' asked 


Father Gatto, with a grin that showed all his sharp white 
teeth, while his moustaches stood out straight on either 
side of his face. The little maid looked at the two jars 
from under her long dark lashes : ' In the oil jar ! ' she 
answered timidly, thinking to herself : ' I could not ask to 
be bathed in gold.' 

But Father Gatto replied ; ' No, no ; you have deserved 
something better than that.' And seizing her in his 
strong paws he plunged her into the liquid gold. Wonder 
of wonders ! when Lizina came out of the jar she shone 
from head to foot like the sun in the heavens on a fine 
summer's day. Her pretty pink cheeks and long black 
hair alone kept their natural colour, otherwise she had 
become like a statue of pure gold. Father Gatto purred 
loudly with satisfaction. ' Go home,' he said, ' and see 
your mother and sisters ; but take care if you hear the 
cock crow to turn towards it ; if on the contrary the ass 
brays, you must look the other way.' 

The little maid, having gratefully kissed the white 
paw of the old cat, set off for home ; but just as she got 
near her mother's house the cock crowed, and quickly she 
turned towards it. Immediately a beautiful golden star 
appeared on her forehead, crowning her glossy black hair. 
At the same time the ass began to bray, but Lizina took 
care not to look over the fence into the field where the 
donkey was feeding. Her mother and sister, who were 
in front of their house, uttered cries of admiration and 
astonishment when they saw her, and their cries became 
still louder when Lizina, taking her handkerchief from her 
pocket, drew out also a handful of gold. 

For some days the mother and her two daughters 
lived very happily together, for Lizina had given them 
everything she had brought away except her golden 
clothing, for that would not come off, in spite of all the 
efforts of her sister, who was madly jealous of her good 
fortune. The golden star, too, could not be removed 
from her forehead. But all the gold pieces she drew 


from her pockets had found their way to her mother and 

' I will go now and see what I can get out of the 
pussies,' said Peppina, the elder girl, one morning, as she 
took Lizina's basket and fastened her pockets into her 
own skirt. 'I should like some of the cats' gold for 
myself,' she thought, as she left her mother's house before 
the sun rose. 

The cat colony had not yet taken another servant, for 
they knew they could never get one to replace Lizina, 
whose loss they had not yet ceased to mourn. When 
they heard that Peppina was her sister, they all ran to 
meet her. ' She is not the least like her,' the kittens 
whispered among themselves. 

' Hush, be quiet ! ' the older cats said ; ' all servants 
cannot be pretty.' 

No, decidedly she was not at all like Lizina. Even 
the most reasonable and large-minded of the cats soon 
acknowledged that. 

The very first day she shut the kitchen door in the 
face of the tom-cats who used to enjoy watching Lizina at 
her work, and a young and mischievous cat who jumped 
in by the open kitchen window and alighted on the table 
got such a blow with the rolling-pin that he squalled for 
an hour. 

With every day that passed the household became 
more and more aware of its misfortune. 

The work was as badly done as the servant was surly 
and disagreeable ; in the corners of the rooms there were 
collected heaps of dust ; spiders' webs hung from the ceil- 
ings and in front of the window-panes ; the beds were 
hardly ever made, and the feather beds, so beloved by the 
old and feeble cats, had never once been shaken since 
Lizina left the house. At Father Gatto's next visit he 
found the whole colony in a state of uproar. 

' Csesar has one paw so badly swollen that it looks as 
if it were broken,' said one. ' Peppina kicked him with 


her great wooden shoes on. Hector has an abscess in his 
back where a wooden chair was flung at him ; and 
Agrippina's three little kittens have died of hunger beside 
their mother, because Peppina forgot them in their basket 
up in the attic. There is no putting up with the creature 
— do send her away, Father Gatto ! Lizina herself would 
not be angry with us ; she must know very well what her 
sister is like.' 

' Come here/ said Father Gatto, in his most severe 
tones to Peppina. And he took her down into the cellar 
and showed her the same two great jars that he had 
showed Lizina. ' In which of these shall I dip you ? ' he 
asked ; and she made haste to answer : ' In the liquid gold,' 
for she was no more modest than she was good and kind. 

Father Gatto's yellow eyes darted fire. ' You have 
not deserved it,' he uttered, in a voice like thunder, and 
seizing her he flung her into the jar of oil, where she was 
nearly suffocated. When she came to the surface scream- 
ing and struggling, the vengeful cat seized her again and 
rolled her in the ash-heap on the floor ; then when she 
rose, dirty, blinded, and disgusting to behold, he thrust 
her from the door, saying : ' Begone, and when you meet 
a braying ass be careful to turn your head towards it.' 

Stumbling and raging, Peppina set off for home, think- 
ing herself fortunate to find a stick by the wayside with 
which to support herself. She was within sight of her 
mother's house when she heard in the meadow on the 
right, the voice of a donkey loudly braying. Quickly she 
turned her head towards it, and at the same time put her 
hand up to her forehead, where, waving like a plume, was 
a donkey's tail. She ran home to her mother at the top 
of her speed, yelling with rage and despair ; and it took 
Lizina two hours with a big basin of hot water and two 
cakes of soap to get rid of the layer of ashes with which 
Father Gatto had adorned her. As for the donkey's tail, 
it was impossible to get rid of that ; it was as firmly fixed 
on her forehead as was the golden star on Lizina's. Their 


mother was furious. She first beat Lizina unmercifully 
with the broom, then she took her to the mouth of the 
well and lowered her into it, leaving her at the bottom 
weeping and crying for help. 

Before this happened, however, the king's son in 
passing the mother's house had seen Lizina sitting sewing 
in the parlour, and had been dazzled by her beauty. After 
coming back two or three times, he at last ventured to 
approach the window and to whisper in the softest voice : 
1 Lovely maiden, will you be my bride ? ' and she had 
answered : ' I will.' 

Next morning, when the prince arrived to claim his 
bride, he found her wrapped in a large white veil. ' It is 
so that maidens are received from their parents' hands,' 
said the mother, who hoped to make the king's son marry 
Peppina in place of her sister, and had fastened the 
donkey's tail round her head like a lock of hair under the 
veil. The prince was young and a little timid, so he 
made no objections, and seated Peppina in the carriage 
beside him. 

Their way led past the old house inhabited by the cats, 
who were all at the window, for the report had got about 
that the prince was going to marry the most beautiful 
maiden in the world, on whose forehead shone a golden 
star, and they knew that this could only be their adored 
Lizina. As the carriage slowly passed in front of the old 
house, where cats from all parts of world seemed to be 
gathered, a song burst from every throat : 

Mew, mew, mew ! 

Prince, look quick behind you ! 

In the well is fair Lizina, 

And you've got nothing but Peppina. 

When he heard this the coachman, who understood 
the cat's language better than the prince, his master, 
stopped his horses and asked : 

' Does your highness know what the grimalkins are 


saying?' and the song broke forth again louder than 

With a turn of his hand the prince threw back the veil, 
and discovered the puffed-up, swollen face of Peppina, with 
the donkey's tail twisted round her head. ' Ah, traitress ! ' 
he exclaimed, and ordering the horses to be turned round, 
he drove the elder daughter, quivering with rage, to the 
old woman who had sought to deceive him. With his 
hand on the hilt of his sword he demanded Lizina in so 
terrific a voice that the mother hastened to the well to 
draw her prisoner out. Lizina's clothing and her star 
shone so brilliantly that when the prince led her home to 
the king, his father, the whole palace was lit up. Next 
day they were married, and lived happy ever after ; and 
all the cats, headed by old Father Gatto, were present 
at the wedding. 



Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who 
longed to have a son. As none came, one day they made 
a vow at the shrine of St. James that if their prayers 
were granted the boy should set out on a pilgrimage as 
soon as he had passed his eighteenth birthday. And 
fancy their delight when one evening the king returned 
home from hunting and saw a baby lying in the cradle. 

All the people came crowding round to peep at it, and 
declared it was the most beautiful baby that ever was 
seen. Of course that is what they always say, but this 
time it happened to be true. And every day the boy 
grew bigger and stronger till he was twelve years old, 
when the king died, and he was left alone to take care of 
his mother. 

In this way six years passed by, and his eighteenth 
birthday drew near. When she thought of this the 
queen's heart sank within her, for he was the light of her 
eyes, and how was she to send him forth to the unknown 
dangers that beset a pilgrim ? So day by day she grew 
more and more sorrowful, and when she was alone wept 

Now the queen imagined that no one but herself knew 
how sad she was, but one morning her son said to her, 
' Mother, why do you cry the whole day long ? ' 

' Nothing, nothing, my son ; there is only one thing in 
the world that troubles me.' 

' What is that one thing ? ' asked he. ' Are you afraid 


your property is badly managed ? Let me go and look 
into the matter.' 

This pleased the queen, and he rode off to the plain 
country, where his mother owned great estates ; but 
everything was in beautiful order, and he returned with 
a joyful heart, and said, ' Now, mother, you can be 
happy again, for your lands are better managed than 
anyone else's I have seen. The cattle are thriving ; the 
fields are thick with corn, and soon they will be ripe for 

' That is good news indeed/ answered she ; but it did 
not seem to make any difference to her, and the next 
morning she was weeping and wailing as loudly as ever. 

' Dear mother/ said her son in despair, ' if you will 
not tell me what is the cause of all this misery I shall 
leave home and wander far through the world.' 

' Ah, my son, my son,' cried the queen, ' it is the 
thought that I must part from you which causes me 
such grief ; for before you were born we vowed a vow 
to St. James that when your eighteenth birthday was 
passed you should make a pilgrimage to his shrine, and 
very soon you will be eighteen, and I shall lose you. 
And for a whole year my eyes will never be gladdened 
by the sight of you, for the shrine is far away.' 

' Will it take no longer than that to reach it ? ' said he. 
1 Oh, don't be so wretched ; it is only dead people who 
never return. As long as I am alive you may be sure I 
will come back to you.' 

After this manner he comforted his mother, and on 
his eighteenth birthday his best horse was led to the 
door of the palace, and he took leave of the queen in these 
words, ' Dear mother, farewell, and by the help of fate 
I shall return to you as soon as I can.' 

The queen burst into tears and wept sore ; then 
amidst her sobs she drew three apples from her pocket 
and held them out, saying, ' My son, take these apples 
and give heed unto my words. You will need a com- 


panion in the long journey on which you are going. If 
you come across a young man who pleases you beg him 
to accompany you, and when you get to an inn invite 
him to have dinner with you. After you have eaten cut 
one of these apples in two unequal parts, and ask him to 
take one. If he takes the larger bit, then part from him, 
for he is no true friend to you. But if he takes the 
smaller bit treat him as your brother, and share with 
him all you have.' Then she kissed her son once more, 
and blessed him, and let him go. 

The young man rode a long way without meeting a 
single creature, but at last he saw a youth in the distance 
about the same age as himself, and he spurred his horse 
till he came up with the stranger, who stopped and 
asked : 

1 Where are you going, my fine fellow ? ' 

' I am making a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James, 
for before I was born my mother vowed that I should go 
forth with a thank offering on my eighteenth birthday.' 

1 That is my case too,' said the stranger, ' and, as we 
must both travel in the same direction, let us bear each 
other company.' 

The young man agreed to this proposal, but he took 
care not to get on terms of familiarity with the new 
comer until he had tried him with the apple. 

By-and-by they reached an inn, and at sight of it 
the king's son said, ' I am very hungry. Let us enter and 
order something to eat.' The other consented, and they 
were soon sitting before a good dinner. 

When they had finished the king's son drew an apple 
from his pocket, and cut it into a big half and a little half, 
and offered both to the stranger, who took the biggest bit. 
' You are no friend of mine,' thought the king's son, and 
in order to part company with him he pretended to be 
ill and declared himself unable to proceed on his journey. 

1 Well, I can't wait for you,' replied the other ; ' I am 
in haste to push on, so farewell/ 


' Farewell,' said the king's son, glad in his heart to get 
rid of him so easily. The king's son remained in the inn 
for some time, so as to let the young man have a good 
start ; them he ordered his horse and rode after him. 
But he was very sociable and the way seemed long and 
dull by himself. ' Oh, if I could only meet with a true 
friend,' he thought, ' so that I should have some one to 
speak to. I hate being alone.' 

Soon after he came up with a young man, who 
stopped and asked him, ' Where are you going, my fine 
fellow?' The king's son explained the object of his 
journey, and the young man answered, as the other had 
done, that he also was fulfilling the vow of his mother 
made at his birth. 

' Well, we can ride on together/ said the king's son, 
and the road seemed much shorter now that he had some 
one to talk to. 

At length they reached an inn, and the king's son 
exclaimed, ' I am very hungry ; let us go in and get some- 
thing to eat.' 

When they had finished the king's son drew an apple 
out of his pocket and cut it in two ; he held the big 
bit and the little bit out to his companion, who took the 
big bit at once and soon ate it up. ' You are no friend 
of mine,' thought the king's son, and began to declare he 
felt so ill he could not continue his journey. When he 
had given the young man a good start he set off himself, 
but the way seemed even longer and duller than before. 
1 Oh, if I could only meet with a true friend he should be 
as a brother to me,' he sighed sadly ; and as the thought 
passed through his mind, he noticed a youth going the 
same road as himself. 

The youth came up to him and said, ' Which way 
are you going, my fine fellow ? ' And for the third time 
the king's son explained all about his mother's vow. 
' Why, that is just like me,' cried the youth. 

' Then let us ride on together,' answered the king's son. 

c A A 


Now the miles seemed to slip by, for the new comer 
was so lively and entertaining that the king's son could 
not help hoping that he indeed might prove to be the 
true friend. 

More quickly than he could have thought possible 
they reached an inn by the road -side, and turning to his 
companion the king's son said, ' I am hungry ; let us go 
in and have something to eat.' So they went in and 
ordered dinner, and when they had finished the king's 
son drew out of his pocket the last apple, and cut it 
into two unequal parts, and held both out to the stranger. 
And the stranger took the little piece, and the heart of 
the king's son was glad within him, for at last he had 
found the friend he had been looking for. ' Good youth,' 
he cried, ' we will be brothers, and what is mine shall be 
thine, and what is thine shall be mine. And together 
we will push on to the shrine, and if one of us dies on 
the road the other shall carry his body there.' And the 
stranger agreed to all he said, and they rode forward 

It took them a whole year to reach the shrine, and 
they passed through many different lands on their way. 
One day they arrived tired and half- starved in a big city, 
and said to one another, ' Let us stay here for a little and 
rest before we set forth again.' So they hired a small 
house close to the royal castle, and took up their abode 

The following morning the king of the country 
happened to step on to his balcony, and saw the young 
men in the garden, and said to himself, ' Dear me, those 
are wonderfully handsome youths ; but one is hand- 
somer than the other, and to him will I give my daughter 
to wife ; ' and indeed the king's son excelled his friend 
in beauty. 

In order to set about his plan the king asked both 
the young men to dinner, and when they arrived at the 
castle he received them with the utmost kindness, and 


sent for his daughter, who was more lovely than both 
the sun and moon put together. But at bed-time the 
king caused the other young man to be given a poisoned 
drink, which killed him in a few minutes, for he thought 
to himself, ' If his friend dies the other will forget his 
pilgrimage, and will stay here and marry my daughter.' 

When the king's son awoke the next morning he 
inquired of the servants where his friend had gone, as 
he did not see him. * He died suddenly last night,' said 
they, ' and is to be buried immediately.' 

But the king's son sprang up, and cried, ' If my friend 
is dead I can stay here no longer, and cannot linger an 
hour in this house.' 

' Oh, give up your journey and remain here,' exclaimed 
the king, ' and you shall have my daughter for your 
wife.' ' No,' answered the king's son, ' I cannot stay ; 
but, I pray you, grant my request, and give me a good 
horse, and let me go in peace, and when I have fulfilled 
my vow then I will return and marry your daughter.' 

So the king, seeing no words would move him, 
ordered a horse to be brought round, and the king's son 
mounted it, and took his dead friend before him on the 
saddle, and rode away. 

Now the young man was not really dead, but only in 
a deep sleep. 

When the king's son reached the shrine of St. James 
he got down from his horse, took his friend in his arms 
as if he had been a child, and laid him before the altar. 
1 St. James,' he said, ' I have fulfilled the vow my parents 
made for me. I have come myself to your shrine, and 
have brought my friend. I place him in your hands. 
Eestore him to life, I pray, for though he be dead yet 
has he fulfilled his vow also.' And, behold ! while he yet 
prayed his friend got up and stood before him as well 
as ever. x\nd both the young men gave thanks, and set 
their faces towards home. 

When they arrived at the town where the king 


dwelt they entered the small house over against the 
castle. The news of their coming spread very soon, 
and the king rejoiced greatly that tha handsome young 
prince had come back again, and commanded great 
feasts to be prepared, for in a few days his daughter 
should marry the king's son. The young man himself 
could imagine no greater happiness, and when the mar- 
riage was over they spent some months at the court 
making merry. 

At length the king's son said, ' My mother awaits me 
at home, full of care and anxiety. Here 1 must remain 
no longer, and to-morrow I will take my wife and my 
friend and start for home/ And the king was content 
that he should do so, and gave orders to prepare for their 

Now in his heart the king cherished a deadly hate 
towards the poor young man whom he had tried to kill, but 
who had returned to him living, and in order to do him hurt 
sent him on a message to some distant spot. ' See that 
you are quick/ said he, ' for your friend will await your 
return before he starts.' The youth put. spurs to his 
horse and departed, bidding the prince farewell, so that 
the king's message might be delivered the sooner. 
As soon as he had started the king went to the chamber of 
the prince, and said to him, ' If you do not start imme- 
diately, you will never reach the place where you must 
camp for the night/ 

' 1 cannot start without my friend/ replied the king's 

'Oh, he will be back in an hour/ replied the king, ' and 
I will give him my best horse, so that he will be sure to 
catch you up.' The king's son allowed himself to be 
persuaded and took leave of his father-in-law, and set out 
with his wife on his journey home. 

Meanwhile the poor friend had been unable to get 
through his task in the short time appointed by the 
king, and when at last he returned the king said to him, 


' Your comrade is a long way off by now ; you had better 
see if you can overtake him/ 

So the young man bowed and left the king's presence, 
and followed after his friend on foot, for he had no horse. 
Night and day he ran, till at length he reached the place 
where the king's son had pitched his tent, and sank down 
before him, a miserable object, worn out and covered 
with mud and dust. But the king's son welcomed him 
with joy, and tended him as he would his brother. 

And at last they came home again, and the queen was 
waiting and watching in the palace, as she had never 
ceased to do since her son had rode away. She almost 
died of joy at seeing him again, but after a little she 
remembered his sick friend, and ordered a bed to be 
made ready and the bast doctors in all the country to be 
sent for. When they heard of the queen's summons they 
flocked from all parts, but none could cure him. After 
everyone had tried and failed a servant entered and 
informed the queen that a strange old man had just 
knocked at the palace gate and declared that he was able 
to heal the dying youth. Now this was a holy man, who 
had heard of the trouble the king's son was in, and had 
come to help. 

It happened that at this very time a little daughter 
was born to the king's son, but in his distress for his 
friend he had hardly a thought to spare for the baby. 
He could not be prevailed on to leave the sick bed, and he 
was bending over it when the holy man entered the 
room. 'Do you wish your friend to be cured?' asked 
the new comer of the king's son. ' And what price would 
you pay ? ' 

' What price ? ' answered the king's son ; ' only tell me 
what I can do to heal him.' 

' Listen to me, then,' said the old man. ' This even- 
ing you must take your child, and open her veins, and 
smear the wounds of your friend with her blood. And 
you will see, he will get well in an instant.' 


At these words the king's son shrieked with horror, 
for he loved the baby dearly, but he answered, ' I have 
sworn that I would treat my friend as if he were my 
brother, and if there is no other way my child must be 

As by this time evening had already fallen he took 
the child and opened its veins, and smeared the blood 
over the wounds of the sick man, and the look of death 
departed from him, and he grew strong and rosy once 
more. But the little child lay as white and still as if 
she had been dead. They laid her in the cradle and wept 
bitterly, for they thought that by the next morning she 
would be lost to them. 

At sunrise the old man returned and asked after the 
sick man. 

' He is as well as ever,' answered the king's son. 

' And where is your baby ? ' 

1 In the cradle yonder, and I think she is dead,' re- 
plied the father sadly. 

' Look at her once more,' said the holy man, and as 
they drew near the cradle there lay the baby smiling up 
at them. 

'I am St. James of Lizia,' said the old man, ' and I 
have come to help you, for I have seen that you are a 
true friend. From henceforward live happily, all of you, 
together, and if troubles should draw near you send for 
me, and I will aid you to get through them.' 

With these words he lifted his hand in blessing and 

And they obeyed him, and "were happy and content, 
and tried to make the people of the land happy and 
contented too. 

[From Sicilian iscfte Mcihrc'hen* Gonzeubach.] 



There was once a merchant who lived close to the royal 
palace, and had three daughters. They were all pretty, 
but Maria, the youngest, was the prettiest of the three. 
One day the king sent for the merchant, who was a 
widower, to give him directions about a journey he wished 
the good man to take. The merchant would rather not 
have gone, as he did not like leaving his daughters at 
home, but he could not refuse to obey the king's com- 
mands, and with a heavy heart he returned home to say 
farewell to them. Before he left, he took three pots of 
basil, and gave one to each girl, saying, ' I am going a 
journey, but I leave these pots. You must let nobody into 
the house. When I come back, they will tell me what has 
happened.' ' Nothing will have happened,' said the girls. 
The father went away, and the following day the 
king, accompanied by two friends, paid a visit to the 
three girls, who were sitting at supper. When they saw 
who was there, Maria said, ' Let us go and get a bottle of 
wine from the cellar. I will carry the key, my eldest 
sister can take the light, while the other brings the bottle.' 
But the king replied, ' Oh, do not trouble ; we are not 
thirsty.' ' Very well, we will not go,' answered the two 
elder girls ; but Maria merely said, 'I shall go, anyhow.' 
She left the room, and went to the hall where she put out 
the light, and putting down the key and the bottle, ran 
to the house of a neighbour, and knocked at the door. 
< Who is there so late ? ' asked the old woman, thrusting 
her head out of the window. 


1 Oh, let Hie in,' answered Maria. 'I have quarrelled 
.with my eldest sister, and as I do not want to fight 
any more, I have come to beg you to allow me to sleep 
with you." 

So the old woman opened the door and Maria slept in 
her house. The king was very angry at her for playing 
truant, but when she returned home the next day, she 
found the plants of her sisters withered away, because 
they had disobeyed their father. Now the window in the 
room of the eldest overlooked the gardens of the king, 
and when she saw how fine and ripe the medlars were on 
the trees, she longed to eat some, and begged Maria to 
scramble down by a rope and pick her a few, and she would 
draw her up again. Maria, who was good-natured, swung 
herself into the garden by the rope, and got* the medlars, 
and was just making the rope fast under her arms so as 
to be hauled up, when her sister cried : ' Oh, there are 
such delicious lemons a little farther on. You might 
bring me one or two/ Maria turned round to pluck 
them, and found herself face to face with the gardener, 
who caught hold of her, exclaiming, ' What are you doing 
here, you little thief ? ' ' Don't call me names/ she said, 
1 or you will get the worst of it,' giving him as she spoke 
such a violent push that he fell panting into the lemon 
bushes, Then she seized the cord and clambered up 
to the window. 

The next day the second sister had a fancy for 
bananas and begged so hard, that, though Maria had 
declared she would never do such a thing again, at last 
she consented, and went down the rope into the king's 
garden. This time she met the king, who said to her, 
1 Ah, here you are again, cunning one ! Now you shall 
pay for your misdeeds.' 

And he began to cross-question her about what she 
had done. Maria denied nothing, and when she had 
finished, the king said again, '-Follow me to the house, 
and there you shall pay the penalty.' As he spoke, he 


started for the house, looking back from time to time to 
make sure that Maria had not run away. All of a sudden, 
when he glanced round, he found she had vanished com- 
pletely, without leaving a trace of where she had gone. 
Search was made all through the town, and there w 7 as not 
a hole or corner which was not ransacked, but there was 
no sign of her anywhere. This so enraged the king that 
he became quite ill, and for many months his life was 
despaired of. 

Meanwhile the two elder sisters had married the two 
friends of the king, and were the mothers of little 
daughters. Now one day Maria stole secretly to the 
house where her elder sister lived, and snatching up the 
children put them into a beautiful basket she had with 
her, covered with flowers inside and out, so that no one 
would ever guess it held two babies. Then she dressed 
herself as a boy, and placing the basket on her head, she 
walked slowly past the palace, crying as she went : 

1 Who will carry these flowers to the king, who lies 
sick of love ? ' 

And the king in his bed heard what she said, and 
ordered one of his attendants to go out and buy the 
basket. It was brought to his bedside, and as he raised 
the lid cries were heard, and peeping in he saw two little 
children. He w T as furious at this new trick which he felt 
had been played on him by Maria, and was still looking 
at them, wondering how he should pay her out, when he 
was told that the merchant, Maria's father, had finished 
the business on which he had been sent and returned 
home. Then the king remembered how Maria had refused 
to receive his visit, and how she had stolen his fruit, and he 
determined to be revenged on her. So he sent a message 
by one of his pages that the merchant was to come to see 
him the next day, and bring with him a coat made of 
stone, or else he would be punished. Now the poor man 
had been very sad since he got home the evening before, 
for though his daughters had promised that nothing 


should happen while he was away, he had found the 
two elder ones married without asking his leave. And 
now there was this fresh misfortune, for how was he 
to make a coat of stone? He wrung his hands and 
declared that the king would be the ruin of him, when 
Maria suddenly entered. ' Do not grieve about the 
coat of stone, dear father ; but take this bit of chalk> 
and go to the palace and say you have come to measure 
the king.' The old man did not see the use of this, 
but Maria had so often helped him before that he had 
confidence in her, so he put the chalk in his pocket and 
went to the palace. 

' That is no good/ said the king, when the merchant 
had told him what he had come for. 

1 Well, I can't make the coat you want,' replied he. 

1 Then if you would save your head, hand over to me 
your daughter Maria.' 

The merchant 'did not reply, but went sorrowfully 
back to his house, where Maria sat waiting for him. 

1 Oh, my dear child, why was I born ? The king says 
that, instead of the coat, I must deliver you up to him.' 

' Do not be unhappy, dear father, but get a doll made, 
exactly like me, with a string attached to its head, which 
I can pull for " Yes " and " No." ' 

So the old man went out at once to see about it. 

The king remained patiently in his palace, feeling sure 
that this time Maria could not escape him ; and he said 
to his pages, ' If a gentleman should come here with his 
daughter and ask to be allowed to speak with me, put the 
young lady in my room and see she does not leave it.' 

When the door was shut on Maria, who had concealed 
the doll under her cloak, she hid herself under the couch, 
keeping fast hold of the string which was fastened to its 

' Senhora Maria, I hope you are well,' said the king 
when he entered the room. The doll nodded. ' Now we 
will reckon up accounts,' continued he, and he began at 


(fj^f MftRlA & THE KIN( T 


the beginning, and ended up with the flower-basket, and 
at each fresh misdeed Maria pulled the string, so that 
the doll's head nodded assent. ' Whoso mocks at me 
merits death,' declared the king when he had ended, and 
drawing his sword, cut off the doll's head. It fell towards 
him, and as he felt the touch of a kiss, he exclaimed, ' Ah, 
Maria, Maria, so sweet in death, so hard to me in life ! 
The man who could kill you deserves to die ! ' And he 
was about to turn his sword on himself, when the true 
Maria sprung out from under the bed, and flung herself 
into his arms. And the next day they were married and 
lived happily for many years. 

[From the Portuguese.] 



Eight in the middle of Japan, high up among the 
mountains, an old man lived in his little house. He was 
very proud of it, and never tired of admiring the white- 
ness of his straw mats, and the pretty papered walls, 
which in warm weather always slid back, so that the 
smell of the trees and flowers might come in. . 

One day he was standing looking at the mountain 
opposite, when he heard a kind of rumbling noise in the 
room behind him. He turned round, and in the corner 
he beheld a rusty old iron kettle, which could not have 
seen the light of day for many years. How the kettle got 
there the old man did not know, but he took it up and 
looked it over carefully, and when he found that it was 
quite whole he cleaned the dust off it and carried it into 
his kitchen. 

' That was a piece of luck,' he said, smiling to himself ; 
' a good kettle costs money, and it is as well to have a 
second one at hand in case of need ; mine is getting worn 
out, and the water is already beginning to come through 
its bottom.' 

Then he took the other kettle off the fire, filled the 
new one with water, and put it in its place. 

No sooner was the water in the kettle getting warm than 
a strange thing happened, and the man, who was standing 
by, thought he must be dreaming. First the handle of 
the kettle gradually changed its shape and became a head, 
and the spout grew into a tail, while out of the body 
sprang four paws, and in a few minutes the man found 


himself watching, not a kettle, but a tanuki 1 The 
creature jumped off the fire, and bounded about the room 
like a kitten, running up the walls and over the ceiling, 
till the old man was in an agony lest his pretty room 
should be spoilt. He cried to a neighbour for help, and 
between them they managed to catch the tanuki, and shut 
him up safely in a wooden chest. Then, quite exhausted, 
they sat down on the mats, and consulted together what 
they should do with this troublesome beast. At length 
they decided to sell him, and bade a child who was 
passing send them a certain tradesman called Jimmu. 

When Jimmu arrived, the old man told him that he 
had something which he wished to get rid of, and lifted 
the lid of the wooden chest, where he had shut up the 
tanuki. But, to his surprise, no tanuki was there, nothing 
but the kettle he had found in the corner. It was 
certainly very odd, but the man remembered what had 
taken place on the fire, and did not want to keep the 
kettle any more, so after a little bargaining about the 
price, Jimmu went away carrying the kettle with him. 

Now Jimmu had not gone very far before he felt 
that the kettle was getting heavier and heavier, and by 
the time he reached home he was so tired that he was 
thankful to put it down in the corner of his room, and 
then forgot all about it. In the middle of the night, 
however, he was awakened by a loud noise in the 
corner where the kettle stood, and raised himself up 
in bed to see what it was. But nothing was there 
except the kettle, which seemed quiet enough. He 
thought that he must have been dreaming, and fell asleep 
again, only to be roused a second time by the same 
disturbance. He jumped up and went to the corner, and 
by the light of the lamp that he always kept burning he 
saw that the kettle had become a tanuki, which was 
running round after his tail. After he grew weary of 
that, he ran on the balcony, where he turned several 
somersaults, from pure gladness of heart. The tradesman 

C B B 


was much troubled as to what to do with the animal, and 
it was only towards morning that he managed to get any 
sleep ; but when he opened his eyes again there was no 
tanuki, only the old kettle he had left there the night 

As soon as "he had tidied his house, Jimmu set off to 
tell his story to a friend next door. The man listened 
quietly, and did not appear so surprised as Jimmu 
expected, for he recollected having heard, in his youth, 
something about a wonder-working kettle. ' Go and 
travel with it, and show it off,' said he, ; and you will 
become a rich man ; but be careful first to ask the tanuki's 
leave, and also to perform some magic ceremonies to 
prevent him from running away at the sight of the 

Jimmu thanked his friend for his counsel, which he 
followed exactly. The tanuki's consent w T as obtained, 
a booth was built, and a notice was hung up outside it 
inviting the people to come and witness the most wonder- 
ful transformation that ever was seen. 

They came in crowds, and the kettle was passed from 
hand to hand, and they were allowed to examine it all 
over, and even to look inside. Then Jimmu took it back, 
and setting it on the platform, commanded it to become a 
tanuki. In an instant the handle began to change into 
a head, and the spout into a tail, while the four paws 
appeared at the sides. ' Dance/ said Jimmu, and the 
tanuki did his steps, and moved first on one side and 
then on the other, till the people could not stand still any 
longer, and began to dance too. Gracefully he led the 
fan dance, and glided without a pause into the shadow 
dance and the umbrella dance, and it seemed as if he 
might go on dancing for ever. And so veiy likely he 
would, if Jimmu had not declared he had danced enough, 
and that the booth must now be closed. 

Day after day the booth was so full it was hardly 
possible to enter it, and what the neighbour foretold had 


come to pass, and Jimmu was a rich man. Yet he did 
not feel happy. He was an honest man, and he thought 
that he owed some of his wealth to the man from whom 
he had bought the kettle. So, one morning, he put a 
hundred gold pieces into it, and hanging the kettle once 
more on his arm, he returned to the seller of it. ' I have 
no right to keep it any longer,' he added when he had 
ended his tale, l so I have brought it back to you, and 
inside you will find a hundred gold pieces as the price of 
its hire/ 

The man thanked Jimmu, and said that few people 
would have been as honest as he. And the kettle brought 
them both luck, and everything went well with them 
till they died, which they did when they were very old, 
respected by everyone. 

[Adapted from Japanische Mahrchen ] 






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